SANTA ROSA (KPIX 5/BCN) — All jail inmates will now be required to be tested for COVID-19 upon entry, said Sonoma County officials on Tuesday.

Under the new health order, which takes effect on Oct. 1, all inmates at detention facilities in Sonoma County, including juvenile hall, are to be tested regardless of their vaccination status.

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“Detention facilities are particularly high-risk congregate settings because of close quarters,” Sonoma County Health Officer Dr. Sundari Mase said. “Inmates are exposed to many different staff and volunteers while in jail and may be required to move among different living modules, thereby increasing the possibility of COVID-19 transmission.”

Dr. Mase also stated that the inmate population is at a higher risk of severe illness due to the possibility of pre-existing health conditions.

The order was made in collaboration with the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department.

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“We know that COVID can spread quickly in congregate living facilities, including jails,” Sonoma County Sheriff Mark Essick said. “Detention staff has been conducting voluntarily COVID testing for inmates when they arrive at our jail. This health order is an effective tool to ensure all inmates are tested.”

Inmates who tests positive will be placed in isolation to quarantine.


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