SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Three San Francisco Sheriff’s deputies and a cadet have all tested positive for COVID-19 as the virus continued to infect the department’s personnel.

According to Sheriff Paul Miyamoto there were now five members of his staff that have tested positive. He did not say whether or not the deputies had been in contact with each other.

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“Our Sheriff’s employees are first responders who continue to risk their own health and safety to reduce COVID-19 exposure to the public and the people in our care,” he said in a press release. “Our hearts go out to the families and loved ones of our staff and everyone affect by COVID-19. Unfortunately, as the number of Bay Area COVID-19 cases increases, we can expect to see more first responders test positive.”

The four employees are a deputy assigned to a Department of Public Health clinic, a deputy at the county jail, a deputy assigned to San Francisco City Hall and a cadet also assigned to City Hall.

Another deputy was reported to be infected with the virus on Sunday

When a Sheriff’s Office employee tests positive, the department takes the following steps to reduce exposure to staff, people in custody and the community:

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  • Create a comprehensive timeline retracing the affected employees’ assignments and movements prior to testing positive
  • Identifying all staff who had direct and indirect contact with affected employees
  • Sharing timeline(s) with the medical director of the city clinic who is assigned to COVID-19 contact investigations
  • Following up with staff at facilities where affected employees were working
  • Processing worker’s compensation for affected staff

When a positive case is identified in a jail facility, the department will take steps including:

  • Identifying incarcerated people who had direct and indirect contact with affected employees
  • Sharing information and consulting with Jail Health Services, a section of the Department of Public Health, to identify next steps regarding minimizing coronavirus risk in the impacted jail
  • Waiving court appearances for incarcerated people who had contact with the affected employees
  • Suspending implementation of federal injunction orders

Miyamoto said his department was also continuing to work with the Superior Court to identify people who may be eligible for early release to reduce the county jail population and minimize incarcerated persons’ and staff exposure to the coronavirus.

“Our jail count dipped to an historic low on March 21 and has remained below 1,000 people in our custody,” he said. “With one of the nation’s lowest incarceration rates, we are implementing social distancing protocols across three jails and our intake and release center to minimize exposure.”

On Friday, deputies released 26 sentenced persons from the San Francisco county jail who have less than 60 days left to serve by order of the Superior Court. Sheriff’s staff placed approximately 13 people in supportive housing and behavioral health programs. The remaining releases identified existing housing where they could shelter after leaving the jail.

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“Our priority is to ensure that the people who are released and do not have coronavirus remain healthy while sheltering in the broader community,” Miyamoto said.