Changes to arraignments as COVID-19 cases rise in County Sheriff’s Department

At 4:37 a.m., a thief or thieves used a hammer to break the storefront glass window and stole three racing bikes totaling a loss of about $15,600.Photo: Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office

Following last week’s announcement that four Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Deputies had tested positive for COVID-19, the Department announced today the number has risen to 11 positive cases on staff.

Of the 11, eight are deputies in the Custody Bureau. One of those eight has recovered and has been cleared to return to work. One is in the patrol division, as previously announced.

Other positive cases include a staff member who serves as a Custody Support Assistant at the Main Jail. Another is a Records Technician.

“We want to assure the public that our Office remains dedicated to serving and protecting the community during these trying times,” the department’s statement read.

The Department also updated a previous announcement regarding an inmate who tested positive for COVID-19 on March 22. Per Custody Health Staff at the department, the inmate has recovered from the virus and has returned to his unit. As of Wednesday, the department had no known inmates with the novel coronavirus.

Changes to arraignment processes

The Sheriff’s Office, in conjunction with the Santa Clara County Superior County, also announced Wednesday new capabilities to conduct arraignments over video.

Video arraignment is available for inmates with felony and misdemeanor cases. It comes as the department steps up efforts to increase social distancing and limit potential exposure for deputies, department staff, and inmates.

“The Sheriff’s Office has been proactively working on reducing the jail population and reducing exposure within the jail facilities. On Monday, four inmates were released from custody due to the success of this program,” the department announced Wednesday.