Sheriff’s Department suspends jail visits, schools close and county reports 1st locally acquired coronavirus case


The Orange County Sheriff’s Department announced Friday that it will temporarily suspend jail visits as part of its novel coronavirus prevention efforts.

OCSD’s announcement came at about the same time the Orange County Health Care Agency announced the first locally acquired case of the virus. OCHCA also announced three new confirmed cases, bringing the county’s total number to nine. Also Friday, several Orange County school districts and private schools announced that they are cancelling classes – some for as long as a month.

At the jails, visits will be suspended through Monday, March 16. The Sheriff’s Department will reassess whether to extend the suspension.

“The Sheriff’s Department understands the value and importance of visiting hours for those in custody, as well as for their families and friends,” the department posted on its Facebook page. “However safety remains the department’s highest priority. The department is committed to fulfilling its role in taking measures to protect the public, department staff and those in our custody.”

OCSD’s jail facilities don’t offer contact visits, but visiting days draw large crowds who wait in close proximity to one another.

“Given how COVID-19 spreads, the Sheriff’s Department will follow the recommendations of local, state and federal health agencies, which advise members of the public to avoid large gatherings,” the post said.