Deputy At Riverside County Jail Tests Positive For Coronavirus

Toni McAllister

This article originally appeared on the Banning-Beaumont Patch

RIVERSIDE COUNTY, CA — Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco confirmed Thursday that a deputy assigned to one of the county jails has tested positive for coronavirus.

In a videotaped message dated March 26 that was released to the public (watch above), Bianco said the deputy is at home and doing well.

The deputy came to work a few days ago and later reported not feeling well. Due to the nature of duties that day, the deputy never came into contact with inmates or jail personnel, the sheriff said.

Eleven inmates at the jail where the infected deputy works are quarantined with coronavirus symptoms, "but we have not had any tests come back positive," Bianco said.

The sheriff did not name the jail and it's unclear how many of the inmates may have been tested. It's also not clear how they are being quarantined in the jail facility.

None of the inmates came into contact with the sick deputy, according to Bianco.

Several other Riverside County deputies are self-isolating at home with COVID-19 symptoms, but none have yet tested positive for the disease, according to the sheriff. He did not say where those deputies work. Other symptomatic first-responders across the county are also self-isolating at home, according to Bianco.

Unfortunately, Bianco said, there is no way for sheriff's employees to avoid contact with one another while on the job.

Patch reached out the sheriff's department Wednesday for comment about possible COVID-19 infections in county jails, and specifically Larry D. Smith Correctional Facility in Banning, but has received no response to the inquiry as of Thursday night.