Santa Clara Co. Sheriff releases 6 inmates early to slow spread of coronavirus

On Tuesday, the Santa Clara County Sheriff revealed six inmates have been released early from jail custody to slow the spread of coronavirus in county jails. The sheriff also said most businesses were in compliance on the first day of shelter-in-place order.

Steve Ngo owns Alum Rock Beauty Supply. It was one of a handful of businesses that remained open in and around downtown San Jose on Tuesday.

He said his store falls under an "essential" service because besides beauty products, he also sells item including alcohol and masks to help with coronavirus prevention.

“There are really a lot of gray areas in this,” said Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith.

Sheriff Smith said it's a case-by-case basis and the department hasn't encountered any major problems so far. She said more deputies will be patrolling the streets and if the order is violated, people could be charged with a misdemeanor and a citation issued.

However, Smith said law enforcement is hoping to educate rather than crack down.

“The question I get a lot is this martial law and it is not,” said Smith. “We are looking for voluntary compliance and to really contain the spread.”

Smith is hoping to contain the spread of coronavirus in county jails after two inmates were exposed to Covid-19 and quarantined. The sheriff is revealing inmates have been released early from jail custody.

“We have actually released some but we have put them on house arrest with an electronic monitor,” said Smith.

The sheriff said six inmates are now on home arrest and all have a short time left on their sentence.

“They didn't have assault on police officers, they didn't have sex charges, and they didn't have domestic violence charges,” said Smith.

Also, on Tuesday, county officials confirmed over at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds, Verily Life Services, Google’s sister company is now conducting drive-thru coronavirus testing, where people can schedule appointments online.

“The way you have access to it is you go to project baseline you fill out a questionnaire and that questionnaire will let you know if you are candidate to get tested there,” said Cindy Chavez with the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors. “If you show up without an appointment you won't be let in.”