Contract Staff Tests COVID-19 Positive at Santa Maria Juvenile Hall

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Source: Santa Barbara County Probation Department

Chief Probation Officer Tanja Heitman reported [Friday] that a contract employee assigned to the Santa Barbara Probation Department’s Santa Maria Juvenile Hall (SMJH) has notified the Department they tested positive for COVID-19.

The Probation Department has a comprehensive COVID-19 Management Plan that addresses this situation.  Employees and contractors are required to submit to temperature and health questionnaire screening prior to entering the facility and have been directed not to come to work ill.  In this case, the staff was tested as part of the contract employer’s regularly scheduled preemptive testing procedures.  Two additional contract staff were tested, but returned negative.  Contact tracing determined no probation staff or youth had been in contact with the individual. 

The Probation Department remains focused on being responsive to the mental and physical well-being of youth, staff and contractors during this challenging and stressful situation, and is taking steps to ensure their wellness. The Department is continuing to make decisions based on best practices in health and safety standards for the youth under their care, their officers, and the community. Everyone is encouraged to visit the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department website at for more information on COVID-19.  For more information about the County of Santa Barbara Probation Department, go to

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