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San Francisco Jail Inmate COVID-19-Positive At Booking; Had Been Asymptomatic, Released 2 Weeks Prior

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- A person booked into a San Francisco jail has tested positive for the coronavirus, San Francisco Sheriff Paul Miyamoto announced Tuesday.

The case marks the third time a San Francisco inmate tested positive for the virus. In all three cases, the inmates were asymptomatic and all tested positive at booking.

According to Miyamoto, the inmate who recently tested positive has been arrested four times since January. Just two weeks ago, that same person was booked into jail on unrelated issues and tested negative for COVID-19.


"Fortunately, this individual is in isolation and has not had contact with our incarcerated population," Miyamoto said in a statement. "We face additional challenges when people are released and returned over and over. The threat of community spread spilling into our jails is constant and demands the utmost vigilance on our part to keep COVID-19 out of our jails."

In addition to the three inmate cases, five sheriff's deputies tested COVID-19 positive last month.

In order to protect inmates from the pandemic, the sheriff's office and the city Department of Public Health's Jail Services last month began testing all new inmates for COVID-19, on top of routine infectious diseases screenings and medical interviews already performed on new inmates prior to booking.

New inmates are also being isolated from the general jail population, according to sheriff's officials.

Furthermore, the sheriff's office has helped release 26 inmates who had less than 60 days left to serve; suspended all jail visits; increased cleaning and sanitation; moved inmates 60 years or older to single cells in designated areas; and followed the state's Judicial Council's emergency order calling for $0 bail for misdemeanors.

The sheriff's office has reported the city's jail population to be at a historic low due to the stay-at-home order.


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