SANTA ROSA (CBS SF) — Sonoma County officials said Tuesday they’re looking to change policies for new intaking inmates, which will hopefully stem an increase in COVID-19 cases at the county’s main jail.

There have been 28 positive COVID-19 cases at the Main Adult Detention Facility on Ventura Avenue in Santa Rosa, with 11 inmates and two employees currently positive for the virus, according to county officials.

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Most of the inmates who tested positive did so when they arrived at the jail, and county officials said their policy of testing and quarantining new inmates has been successful in reducing the likelihood of the virus spreading within the facility.

The wearing of masks is mandatory by inmates and staff, and the county sheriff’s office has reduced interactions between inmates and also reduced visitation by people from outside the jail.

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The county is also taking measures required by the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) to provide testing to employees in the jail at least twice per week until no new cases are detected for two weeks.

“Sonoma County is seeing significant community spread of COVID-19, so it is not surprising that individuals are coming into the detention facility with the virus,” county Health Officer Dr. Sundari Mase said in a news release.

“That’s why we worked with the Sheriff’s Office in the beginning of the pandemic to set up a screening procedure to detect and isolate cases among new inmates,” Mase added. “Public Health staff is working with the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office to provide the resources and support to mitigate exposure and reduce the chance for spread.”

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