Two more sheriff’s deputies in Riverside County have tested positive for COVID-19, as well as an inmate — the county’s first incarcerated case — according to Sheriff Chad Bianco.
The announcement brings the total number of deputies known to be infected with the virus to three. On Thursday, officials said a deputy who worked at a jail tested positive.
“I have spoken to all of them and they are in good spirits recovering,” Bianco said of the deputies in a Facebook video.
Bianco said there are other deputies who are self-quarantined and are awaiting test results, though he did not specify how many.
The inmate who tested positive for COVID-19 became symptomatic several days ago, was immediately isolated and is being treated by medical staff, according to Bianco. He did not say where the inmate was jailed.
Bianco said the COVID-19-positive inmate had contact with few other inmates, who have not developed symptoms.
“We have a strategic plan in place to do everything possible to screen, isolate, diagnose and prevent any potential spread while in custody. Every inmate who has developed symptoms has been isolated and tested,” Bianco said.
He said jail staff have an “adequate supply” of personal protection equipment and have stepped up cleaning efforts at the detention facilities.
Bianco said the department has a plan in place if there is an outbreak among jail staff or inmates, but did not disclose details.
“Unlike other jurisdictions, I have no intention of preemptively releasing inmates out of fear something may or may not happen,” he said. “I feel very strongly that the inmates we have remaining in custody pose a much greater risk to public safety than the risk this virus poses to them while they are in custody.”
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