Santa Rita jail says only 22 inmates now positive for coronavirus

Santa Rita Jail in Dublin, Calif. (KTVU FOX 2)

The Alameda County Sheriff's office states that only 22 inmates at Santa Rita Jail are now positive for coronavirus.

Of those 19 are asymptomatic and three are presenting with symptoms, as of data provided on Tuesday. 

This is a huge drop from the jail's peak of 104 positive cases somewhere in the middle to the end of last week, which attorneys for the county revealed occurred first broke out July 16 in the kitchen. 

In addition, the jail said that 11 formerly positive COVID-19 inmates have recovered and are no longer in custody and 20 inmates who tested positive for COVID-19 were released from custody.

Jen Diaz, health services administrator for Wellpath, the company that contracts medical services for the jail, said inmates are cleared from the virus using the CDC's standards: two negative test results collected 24 hours apart or a "symptom-based strategy," where they don't present with a fever, coughing or shortness of breath for 10 days.

Dr. John Swartzberg, an infectious disease expert at Berkeley Public Health, told KTVU that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed its guidelines to this symptom-based testing about two weeks ago. Essentially, if someone doesn't present with fever and coronavirus symptoms for 10 days, that person may still indeed have the virus in their body but the contagious part is gone. He said the jail's protocol is quite reasonable under these terms. 

To date, the sheriff's website said that only one inmate has been admitted to the hospital due to complications from COVID-19 but has since recovered. 

No inmate has died from coronavirus, though two employees, a deputy and a coroner's bureau technician, have. 

In all, the sheriff posted that Santa Rita has 11 current positive staff cases.  And since March, there has been a total of 50 staff cases of COVID-19 and 39 have recovered.

Santa Rita is not the only jail in the Bay Area where inmates have tested positive for coronavirus.

In Santa Clara County, 10 inmates and 28 staff members currently have tested positive as of Wednesday. 

As of last week, a total of 12 inmates in Contra Costa have tested positive for COVID-19, none of whom are currently in custody, according to a presentation Sheriff David Livingston gave to supervisors. All have been released with contact tracing implemented, he said.  Five staff members have tested positive and were quarantined. Of those, three are back to work and two are in quarantine.

Seven Contra Costa County Sheriff's employees have tested positive so far. 

In San Mateo County, eight inmates have tested positive for COVID-19; four of the eight are still positive and being treated by correctional health inside the facility in the medical housing unit. Since March, three employees have tested positive for COVID-19 since March.

In San Francisco, as of this week, three inmates remain in isolation in San Francisco jails, according to spokeswoman Nancy Crowley. Another three, who have recovered, are in custody and 22 have been released. She said that if an inmate was positive at release, the sheriff's department along with Jail Health Services helped find COVID-19 alternative housing.

Lisa Fernandez is a reporter for KTVU. Email Lisa at or call her at 510-874-0139. Or follow her on Twitter @ljfernandez