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Sheriff's Office issues new COVID-19 safety procedures for correctional facilities

Measures include requiring correctional staff to take COVID-19 tests once a week
Screenshot 2022-01-06 111847
San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office and San Mateo County Correctional Health Services have implemented new measures to protect employees and incarcerated people from COVID-19 and the Omicron variant.

The San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office and San Mateo County Correctional Health Services announced on Thursday that they have implemented new measures to protect employees and incarcerated people from COVID-19 and the omicron variant, according to a county news release.

According to the San Mateo County COVID-19 Data Dashboard, cases spiked following the Christmas holiday surpassing the summer delta variant surge

Some of the measures taken by the county sheriff's office include canceling in-person visits, excluding attorney and court-ordered visits; requiring staff to wear N-95 and KN-95 masks inside the correctional facilities; staff will be required to take COVID-19 tests once a week; in-person programs for incarcerated individuals have been canceled; any newly incarcerated people will be quarantined as per CDC guidelines, according to the news release. 

Other measures include the following: 

  • In the event that an incarcerated person shows signs of COVID-19, the Correctional Staff will collaborate with Correctional Health Services to implement a quarantine plan for that housing area as deemed necessary.
  • If you have the following symptoms, please refrain from entering the correctional lobbies: fever, cough, difficulty breathing, and shortness of breath and please contact your medical provider.
  • All arrestees will be screened outside of the facility. This will consist of a pre-booking questionnaire and an intensive medical screening. If an arrestee is displaying symptoms of COVID-19 and is medically cleared, they will be isolated.

Other correctional facilities have taken similar approaches to curb the spread of COVID-19. 

The Sonoma County Sheriff's Office reported on Wednesday that the correctional facility had been locked down after a dozen inmates and at least seven jail employees tested positive for COVID-19. The facility began administering additional testing of inmates and staff due to the outbreak, according to Sonoma County Sheriff's Office spokesman Sgt. Juan Valencia.

The San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office said it will continue to collaborate with county Correctional Health Services and provide up-to-date information and protection from COVID-19, according to the news release. 

Bay City News contributed to this report.