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Four county sheriff's positive for COVID-19; one hospitalized
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Four county sheriff's positive for COVID-19; one hospitalized

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Sheriff’s Office adjusts staffing after deputies test positive for COVID-19

A sheriff's deputy screens a visitor for COVID-19 symptoms at a temporary checkpoint before she enters Santa Barbara County Jail as part of a protocol instituted at the outset of the coronavirus pandemic.

One Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office employee is hospitalized with COVID-19, while four additional employees, including three custody staff and a patrol deputy, have tested positive for the disease and are self-isolating at home.

The custody staff include a part-time civilian employee and two deputies, said sheriff's spokeswoman Raquel Zick, who added that two of the four new exposures do not appear to be work-related. 

The patrol deputy began experiencing symptoms June 23 during his days off. He took a cororavirus test and did not return to work while results were pending. 

The test came back positive, but contact tracing indicates his exposure likely was not work-related, according to Zick. 

Another deputy, who works in corrections, began experiencing coronavirus symptoms on his day off and took a test, but he was told the results were negative and returned to work. 

The result, however, was misread by a contract medical worker but not before the custody deputy worked two shifts at the county psychiatric facility while wearing an N95 mask, according to Zick. 

After the test error was found, the deputy immediately self-isolated. 

No indication of coronavirus spread at the facility has been found, Zick said. 

Another custody deputy became ill this past week and tested positive for the coronavirus. That deputy had been on military leave, however, since June 14, Zick said. 

Another employee, who works in the custody records department, began experiencing symptoms recently and took a test, which came up positive, Zick said. 

Officials believe the last staff outbreak originated in the custody records department, although the infected employee had not been at work since June 12 and she had no contact with employees, Zick said. 

Testing continues at the Santa Barbara County Jail, where 225 inmates were tested, with 114 results returning negative as of Wednesday.

Four inmates tested positive, said Zick, adding that two have been released. 

The other two remain in jail, with one having recovered and the other isolated and under medical supervision. 

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