Tulare County sheriff addresses COVID outbreak at jail

TULARE COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Tulare County Sheriff responded to claims made by the American Civil Liberties Union that he has not done enough to protect inmates at the Bob Wiley Detention Facility from COVID-19.

Sheriff Mike Boudreaux held a news conference Thursday to address a Coronavirus outbreak at the jail.

The sheriff said initially, one inmate tested positive after he returned to the jail from court feeling sick. He was fully vaccinated.

In response, the jail tested everyone he may have been in contact with. 78 inmates tested positive for COVID-19.

Sheriff Boudreaux announced none of them have had symptoms.

RELATED: ACLU calling for action after positive COVID-19 tests at Bob Wiley Detention Facility

He believes the virus got into the detention facility from inmates going to court, so he has canceled all in-person court appointments for the time being.

All civilian visitation to the Bob Wiley Detention Facility have been suspended, including pastors and volunteers who provide services to inmates.

"I don't want this in our jail either. I don't want any inmates or staff to become ill with COVID. We're doing everything we can or possibly can to reduce those exposed or infected with COVID-19," said Boudreaux.

Inmate programs have also been suspended to prevent further spread of the virus.

Cleaning and sanitation is now being done daily -- the sheriff's office has also purchased several disinfection machines.

To date, the detention facility has given 1,200 vaccinations to inmates. Fifty percent of its staff is vaccinated.

Sheriff Boudreaux has also requested a medical team from the state to come in and help treat infected inmates with antibodies.
Copyright © 2021 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.