County Administrator's Office
For Immediate Release

Health officials assist Sonoma County jail in addressing increasing COVID-19 cases

Santa Rosa, CA  –  December 29, 2020  –  Sonoma County public health officials are helping the Sheriff’s Office respond to an increase in COVID-19 cases at the Sonoma County Main Adult Detention Facility. The County is working with the Sheriff’s Office to implement twice weekly testing for exposed employees and inmates and reviewing existing practices to identify areas for enhanced measures.

“Sonoma County is seeing significant community spread of COVID-19, so it is not surprising that individuals are coming into the detention facility with the virus. That’s why we worked with the Sheriff’s Office in the beginning of the pandemic to set up a screening procedure to detect and isolate cases among new inmates,” said Sundari Mase, Sonoma County’s Health Officer. “Public Health staff is working with the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office to provide the resources and support to mitigate exposure and reduce the chance for spread in the Main Adult Detention Facility.”

There have been 28 positive cases, the majority of which are unconnected, at the Ventura Avenue facility in Santa Rosa in the past 30 days. Currently, 11 inmates and two employees are COVID-positive. The majority of the COVID-positive inmates were positive when they arrived at the detention facility. At the beginning of the pandemic, the Sheriff’s Office and health officials worked together to develop a procedure that involves testing and quarantining new inmates, which has been successful in reducing the likelihood of introducing cases into the jail and spreading it to fellow inmates. Additionally, health officials and the Sheriff’s Office have collaborated to implement proactive measures such as:

  • Mandatory mask-wearing by inmates and staff
  • Surveillance testing
  • Air filtration
  • Surface disinfection
  • Reduced interaction between inmates
  • Significantly reduced visitation 
Public Health and the Sheriff’s Office are taking measures required by the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health’s emergency regulations, including:
  • Providing testing to employees in the exposed workplace at least twice weekly and excluding positive cases and exposures until there are no new cases detected for a 14-day period.
  • The County previously worked with the Sheriff’s Office to implement ventilation changes to mechanical ventilation systems including increasing outside air and improving airflow and utilizing HEPA filters where needed.
  • Reviewing and adjusting mitigation measures and correcting COVID-19 hazards.


Contact Information

Paul Gullixson
Communications Manager
County Administrator's Office
County of Sonoma
575 Administration Drive
Suite 104A
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
38.464665, -122.725235