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Lots of positive COVID tests at county jail but no major disruptions
SJ jail

While the COVID-19 virus is currently in the San Joaquin County Jail – affecting jail staff and inmates alike – it hasn’t led to any major disruptions, according to San Joaquin County Sheriff Pat Withrow.

In his monthly address to the community Withrow talked about how there are a number of sworn personnel and inmates that have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, but very few of them have exhibited any symptoms.

Those that test positive while in custody are quarantined to prevent the virus from spreading further through the facility. So far, no staff members or inmates have been hospitalized as a result of contracting the virus.

At the onset of the pandemic Withrow was a vocal opponent of a state initiative to stop the spread of the coronavirus by thinning the ranks of those who are incarcerated throughout California – including those housed in county jails across the state.

His opposition, Withrow said at the time, stemmed from the fact that there are so many inmates that come back to the facility that it would have been safer to keep them in custody for the duration of their sentence rather than send them back into the community only for them to pick up the virus and bring it into the facility. At the time that he spoke out against the decision, San Joaquin County hadn’t had any reported cases within the facility.

Withrow himself contracted the virus but recovered largely without any major symptoms or complications.

The monthly video address was part of Withrow’s commitment to the community to bring transparency to the office and keep the public informed about the happenings inside of the county’s largest law enforcement office.

According to the most recent data from the San Joaquin County Department of Public Health, the 7-day average of new infections is trending down towards its lowest numbers since pandemic began, while the number of deaths per 100,000 people in the county is doing the same – an indication that things are heading in the right direction right as a change in weather is going to force more people indoors.

In the weekly report released on Oct. 13 – the county retired the COVID-19 dashboard that was updated daily when the numbers warranted it – Manteca had a better case rate per 10K residents than Ripon, Stockton, and Tracy, but trailed behind Lodi, Lathrop, Escalon, and the unincorporated portions of the county.

Last month around 80 percent of the cases in San Joaquin County were in unvaccinated individuals, and 0.94 percent of the county’s fully-vaccinated population has experienced a breakthrough case – an infection in a person that was previously inoculated.

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.