San Francisco Sheriff’s deputies patrol outside City Hall. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Sheriff’s Deputy tests positive for COVID-19

A San Francisco Sheriff’s deputy has tested positive for COVID-19—the seventh sheriff’s employee to test positive since March, Sheriff Paul Miyamoto announced Friday.

The deputy, who works as a bailiff at the city’s Hall of Justice, was asymptomatic and had followed safety protocols like wearing a face covering, practicing social distancing and hand washing regularly, Miyamoto said.

“The virus is surging again so this is not completely surprising,” Miyamoto said in a statement. “What’s critical is that we not only follow CDC guidelines to prevent COVID, but that we also share information as soon as someone tests positive so we can track any potential exposures and prevent further spread.”

The sheriff’s office has notified the city’s Superior Court, as well as Public Defender Mano Raju and District Attorney Chesa Boudin. Additionally, the sheriff’s office has begun a contact tracing investigation to identify anyone who has been in contact with the deputy and may have been exposed.

Back in March, five sheriff’s office staff members tested COVID-19 positive. In early July, a sixth staff member tested positive after being exposed while traveling out of state and that person has not yet returned to work, sheriff’s officials said.

In April, the Department of Public Health’s Jail Health Services began testing new arrestees for COVID-19 on top of conducting routine infectious diseases screenings and medical interviews for new inmates prior to booking. The new inmates are also being isolated from the general jail population.

So far, 24 new inmates have tested positive for COVID-19. All are asymptomatic. Of the 24, only three remain in custody and they have since recovered. In addition, sheriff’s officials said recently that 25 people in the city’s jail were quarantined after possibly being exposed to the virus. Among those, 12 remain in custody and they have all tested negative three times.

They were released from custody Friday. Currently, there is no known COVID-19 case within the city’s jails.

”Our strict testing and jail housing protocols have ensured that justice-involved people who test positive remain isolated while in custody and get the support they need when they are released,” Miyamoto said. “But this virus is wily and will look for a wormhole. We can’t let our guard down for one minute.”

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