The Pre-Trial Detention Facility (PTDF) in Ventura has experienced an outbreak of COVID-19 within multiple housing areas of the jail.
On Friday, August 28th, a male inmate at the PTDF began experiencing COVID like symptoms while in his housing unit. Per jail protocol, he was immediately quarantined and tested for the virus. The results of the test returned on Wednesday, September 2nd and revealed he was positive for the virus. This inmate had been in custody for more than two weeks when he started displaying symptoms indicating he may have contracted the virus while inside the facility.
Prior to him displaying symptoms, he had been housed in General Population with other male inmates. Contact tracing was immediately performed and it was determined that he had come into close contact with 45 other inmates who were also tested. The results indicated that 19 of those inmates came back positive for the virus and were subsequently quarantined as well.
Additional contact tracing is underway and a plan has been developed to provide continued testing. County Public Health was notified when the first positive test was returned and they continue to be a partner with the jail in managing the impacts of the virus within the detention environment.
Since late January of this year, strategies were created and put in place to mitigate the spread of the virus within the jail system. Although a daunting challenge, these efforts have proven to be effective. Since this time, all inmates are carefully screened by medical staff prior to entering the jail. Inmates and staff are provided masks and encouraged to report if they develop any potential symptoms. Significant efforts have also been made to ensure inmates are quarantined before being moved to other housing units within the jail. Those inmates with comorbidities or other vulnerabilities to the virus have received additional precautions for their protection and both jails continue to be disinfected routinely.
Additional precautions are now being taken with staff members such as limiting work assignment rotations and providing face shields. Testing for all jail staff is also occurring. All inmates at the PTDF are being tested today with the assistance of Public Health and our medical provider, Wellpath. In addition, the Sheriff’s Office is evaluating strategies to lower the inmate population including the early release of some low grade misdemeanants nearing their sentence completion, and expanding alternatives to custody such as the Electronic Monitoring program. The Todd Road Jail houses several hundred inmates and efforts were made to limit transportation of inmates between facilities and this precaution will remain in place for the foreseeable future. Within the coming days, all inmates at the Todd Road Jail will also receive COVID testing.