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COVID-19 Outbreak Infects Dozens Of Staff, Inmates At Mendocino County Jail

UKIAH (CBS SF) – Authorities in Mendocino County said more than five dozen inmates at the county jail, along with some staff members, have been infected in a COVID-19 outbreak.

"Despite our best efforts, COVID-19 cases are on the rise in the jail," the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office said in a statement Friday.

According to the sheriff's office, there were 62 cases among inmates over the past two weeks. Several inmates have recovered while in custody, while others were released by the courts and returned home to finish isolation.

Deputies said as of Friday, there are 45 cases of COVID-19 in the jail population. Meanwhile, the sheriff's office reported that 29 jail staff members have tested positive since last month.

The outbreak comes despite several safety measures, including testing of all arrestees upon entry, a 10-day quarantine for those arrested and twice weekly testing for the entire jail population and staff.

Deputies cited several reasons in preventing COVID-19 spread, citing the jail's open air design, the turnover of inmates and the increasing number of arrestees who are infected.

In response, inmates in affected areas of the jail are being quarantined. Also some inmates who are approaching their release date have been released early, in an effort to decrease the inmate population.

Deputies said to date, all inmates and staff who have been infected have reported only minor symptoms.

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