DATE OF ORDER: SEPTEMBER 07, 2021
Please read this Order carefully. Violation of or failure to comply with this Order is a misdemeanor and may be punishable by fine, imprisonment, or both. (California Health and Safety Code § 120275, et seq.)
UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF CALIFORNIA HEALTH AND SAFETY CODE SECTIONS 101040, 101085, AND 120175, THE HEALTH OFFICER OF THE COUNTY OF SONOMA (“HEALTH OFFICER”) ORDERS:
1. Summary. This Order of the Health Officer requires all inmates in detention facilities (including juvenile hall) in Sonoma County to receive a rapid antigen test for the virus that causes Coronavirus Disease 2019 (“COVID-19”), regardless of the individual’s vaccination status, upon entry into the facility.
2. Effective Date and Time. This Order takes effect at 12:01 a.m. on October 1, 2021.
3. Basis for Order. On July 26, 2021, the California Department of Public Health issued an order requiring employers of high-risk health care and congregate settings to verify the vaccine status of all workers and requires that unvaccinated or unverified workers be required to undergo routine surveillance testing (https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/COVID-19/Order-of-the-State-Public-Health-Officer-Unvaccinated-Workers-In-High-Risk-Settings.aspx).
The State order does not require testing of inmates in correctional facilities. In Sonoma County, there have been cases arising out of detention facilities, linked to both correctional staff and inmates. The virus is introduced into the facility by both correctional staff and inmates where it can be transmitted to both staff and inmates. Detention facilities are particularly high-risk congregate settings because of close quarters; inmates are exposed to many different staff and volunteers while in jail and may be required to move among different living modules, thereby increasing the possibility of COVID-19 transmission. The inmate population is at a substantial risk of severe illness from COVID-19, even if fully vaccinated, because they may have certain health conditions that make them vulnerable to severe consequences of COVID-19. Sonoma County is also currently experiencing a surge of cases caused by the spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant. This variant is more contagious and causes more severe illness than previous strains. Therefore, this order for testing applies to all inmates, regardless of their vaccination status.
4. COVID-19 Test Requirements. All inmates in detention facilities in Sonoma County, including juvenile hall, shall be required to receive a rapid antigen test upon entry into the detention facility.
Correctional staff may confirm a positive antigen test with a confirmatory nucleic acid amplification test if:
a. The inmate is not exhibiting symptoms consistent with COVID-19; and,
b. Correctional staff must isolate, according to the isolation protocol of the detention facility, any inmate who receives a positive antigen test until they receive negative results from a confirmatory nucleic acid amplification test.
Correctional staff shall not use another antigen test to confirm a positive antigen test.
If an inmate is exhibiting symptoms consistent with COVID-19 and has a positive antigen test result, then a confirmatory nucleic acid amplification test is not required; the inmate must isolate according to the isolation protocol of the detention facility.
5. Copies; Contact Information. Copies of the Order shall promptly be made available (1) at the County Administration Center at 575 Administration Drive in Santa Rosa (2) by posting on the County’s website and (3) to any member of the public requesting a copy.
IT IS SO ORDERED:
Sundari R. Mase, MD, MPH