33 test positive for coronavirus at Stanislaus County detention center

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STANISLAUS COUNTY, Calif. (KTXL) — The Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department says there has been a “minor outbreak” of COVID-19 among inmates and staff at their detention center.

A release sent out Tuesday says 25 inmates and eight staff members have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Last Tuesday, an inmate who was meant to be placed in the custody of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation was screened for the virus and tested positive, according to Capt. Frank Martinez.

That inmate was living in a housing unit made up of three pods, according to the sheriff’s department. There were 56 inmates housed in his pod and 16 of them also tested positive for the virus.

The sheriff’s department says eight more inmates tested positive in one of the other two pods, along with eight staff members. All three housing pods are supervised by the same staff.

“The fact that we have a minor break-out is not a surprise when you consider the sheer numbers of people that we deal with in a congregate living setting,” said Stanislaus County Sheriff Jeff Dirkse. “The surprise is that we were able to avoid it for this long and that’s a testament to the hard work and setting high procedural standards.”

All of the inmates and staff have been asymptomatic or had minor symptoms, according to the sheriff’s department. Medical staff is available to treat them but no one has required “advanced medical care.”

Capt. Martinez says inmates in the affected pods have been quarantined and protocols have been set in place to help prevent further spread of the virus.

“Since March, we have had a daily average population of approximately 1,100 inmates. Add to that the fact that we have had 11,451 new bookings, and it becomes apparent that there are a lot of opportunities for COVID-19 to be introduced into the facility,” Sheriff Dirkse said in the release. “The minor outbreak is not something that was unexpected and I am confident that it is something that my team will be able to manage.”

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