The presiding judge of the San Diego Superior Court signed orders this week authorizing the sheriff’s department to release county jail inmates with under 60 days remaining on their sentences to stem the spread of COVID-19.

Presiding Judge Lorna Alksne’s order states “There is an immediate and continuing need to protect the health and safety of the jail population and staff by reducing the jail population in order to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.”

On Friday, the sheriff’s department said one inmate and four sheriff’s employees tested positive for COVID-19. Statistics released Friday by the department also state that 36 inmates are in isolation for “COVID-related precautions.”

Bail schedules were modified in an emergency order issued Thursday by the court, getting rid of bail altogether for a large number of low-level offenses.

The modifications came at the joint request of the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office and the San Diego Public Defender’s Office, and was also based on an advisory issued last month by California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye for all state court systems to lower bail amounts “significantly for the duration of the coronavirus emergency.”

The full list of offenses modified by the emergency order can be viewed at www.sdcourt.ca.gov/pls/portal/docs/PAGE/SDCOURT/GENERALINFORMATION/COVID-19INFO/COVID-19%20TEMPORARY%20EMERGENCY%20MODIFICATION%20TO%20BAIL%20SCHEDULE.PDF.

All other offenses not listed in the order will be set at their regular bail schedules.

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