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203 inmates being released from Sacramento jails due to COVID outbreak

74 inmates will be released from the main jail and 129 from the Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center.

SACRAMENTO COUNTY, Calif. — More than 200 inmates are expected to be released from the Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center (RCCC) and the Sacramento County Main Jail due to a COVID-19 outbreak.

Sacramento County Public Health confirmed the outbreak Thursday afternoon. There are 76 positive cases at the jail and 48 at the RCCC. Health staff are trying to pinpoint the source and mitigate the spread.

“The transmission we are seeing in the jails mimics what we are seeing in the community,” said Public Health Officer Dr. Olivia Kasirye in a news release. “This Omicron variant is very contagious and easily spread from person to person.”

Health officials said the confirmed cases are from intake quarantine, inmate workers, and close contact testing.

During an afternoon press conference, sheriff's office spokesperson Sgt. Rod Grassman said, due to the outbreak and the jail having more than 400 people than it normally would, they'll be releasing some inmates on an emergency order.

The releases will allow them to make quarantine areas for inmates.

"This is about finding a place for people to be. And so in doing this release, we can create the space that we need to be able to do that, and they're just — there is no other way around it at this point," Grassman said.

74 inmates will be released from the main jail and 129 from RCCC.

"The criteria that the sheriff's office is going to use is a combination of the last court-ordered early releases, which occurred on Jan. 14, 2021. In addition to that, we're going to use criteria that the sheriff's office uses for three-day early release credits," Grassman said.

However, he said that the order excludes inmates with DUI offenses, domestic violence charges, sex offences and any serious or violent felony. Other restrictions in place impact inmates that have committed a violent crime inside the jail, those who are considered "chronic nuisance offenders," and those with highly specific sentences being served.

"This will take us a couple of days to do. It is a process to go through the release. So while that process will start today, I anticipate that going over the next couple of days to get complete," Grassman said.

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