While the American Civil Liberties Union has sued the Tulare County Sheriff's office over how it's handled the COVID-19 pandemic, Sheriff Mike Boudreaux said everything is being done to combat the virus in Tulare Count jails.
The ACLU, which has filed similar lawsuits against other law enforcement departments, claims the Tulare County Sheriff's Department isn't taking the necessary steps to prevent COVID-19 outbreaks in all of its jails.
The ACLU lawsuit calls for all inmates at all of the county's jails to be given masks, hand soap and sanitizer. The lawsuit also states guards and staff should also be required to wear masks and gloves.
The lawsuit states inmates are provided masks when they go to court but are required to give them back when they return to jail. The lawsuit stats inmates who appear to be sick and request COVID-19 tests have been told they aren't available.
But the Tulare County Sheriff's Office posted on its Facebook page on Tuesday all COVID-19 positive inmates in county jails have recovered.
The Facebook post stated 139 inmates at county jails have been tested for COVID-19. The first inmate to test positive was on June 25. Since then an additional 21 inmates have tested positive.
The department stated all inmates who tested positive were isolated for 14 days, adding no hospitalizations were required.
The department's post on Facebook stated “The only facility affected by positive tests was the Adult Pre-Trial Facility.” Tulare County Health and Human Services Director Tim Lutz reported at a Tulare County Board of Supervisors meeting several weeks ago there were 13 positive tests at Visalia's Adult Pre-Trial Facility.
The department also stated in its Facebook post on Tuesday all new inmates are being quarantined for 14 days or until they're released.
Boudreaux reported all 22 inmates who tested positive have recovered and have returned to the general inmate population.
Thirty-seven Tulare County Corrections Deputies have been tested and five of those tested positive for COVID-19. All but one have recovered and returned to work.
The Facebook post stated “Sheriff Boudreaux credits the rigorous sanitation procedures that are implemented at TCSO Detention Facilities, as well as the commitment and dedication of the employees who work in those facilities, for the very low number of cases in the jails and the successful recoveries.
“The Sheriff’s Office will always keep the health and safety of the community, its employees and its inmates as a top priority.”