Update 12/24/20 — The outbreak has grown significantly; read the latest here.
Original: MENDOCINO Co., 12/23/20 — An outbreak of COVID-19 has struck the Mendocino County Jail, with at least seven people testing positive, and some of those falling ill.
The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office, which manages the Mendocino County Jail, announced the outbreak this evening.
The outbreak was first identified when a corrections officer who had taken time off work received a positive COVID-19 test December 19. Subsequently two additional staff members and four incarcerated people have tested positive. The Sheriff’s Office, along with Mendocino County Public Health, is currently in the process of testing all staff and jail residents to determine whether there are any additional cases in the facility.
Here’s the full announcement from MCSO:
DATE: “December 23, 2020”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Location: Mendocino County Jail
Date of Incident: December 23, 2020
Written By: Lt. John Bednar
Synopsis: A corrections Deputy employed at the Mendocino County Jail had been off work with an illness. Per policy the deputy received testing for COVID-19. On Saturday December 19, 2020 the Corrections Deputy reported to Jail Administration that he had taken a COVID-19 test and received a positive result. Working with County Human Resources, contact tracing was immediately done. Two employees were identified as being potentially exposed and were subsequently tested. On December 21, 2020, one of those employees received a positive test. An additional employee reported feeling ill and submitted to COVID-19 testing, and was also found to be positive that same date.
Because of the positive results, Jail Administration reached out to Mendocino County Public Health, who arranged for testing kits for all staff members. Testing began for all staff members on December 22, 2020. The Mendocino County Public Health Department also worked to secure test kits so that all of the inmate population and corrections staff can be tested. Testing has begun and will continue until all inmates and staff have been tested.
In the evening of December 22, 2020, three male inmates reported feeling ill with flu-like symptoms. On site jail medical staff from Naphcare responded immediately and began testing the three inmates. The three inmates all tested positive for COVID-19. Based on those results, the housing unit in which they were assigned was quarantined, following the jail’s COVID-19 policy, to avoid any potential spread of the virus.
In the morning of December 23, 2020, a fourth male inmate from a different housing unit, complaining of flu-like symptoms, was tested and found to be positive. Again, following the jail’s COVID-19 policy, the housing unit in which the inmate was housed was placed on quarantine.
In addition to the normal cleaning of the jail, a deep cleaning of the jail was performed by staff following the positive findings.
The Sheriff’s Office would like to thank Bekke Emery and her staff for their quick response in assisting us, and providing the necessary testing supplies so that testing can be completed for the safety of inmates and staff.
Working with our partners at the Public Health Department, we will continue working to keep the staff and residents within the Mendocino County Jail safe.