130 inmates released early from Orange County jail system as 5 test positive for COVID-19

As officials across Southern California continue to look for ways to curb the spread of COVID-19, the Orange County jail system released 130 inmates over the weekend earlier than their release dates.

Many of them were released within 10 days earlier than their scheduled release, Sheriff Don Barnes said during a Monday press conference. A second group, 33 inmates who are at higher medical risk because of their age or underlying health conditions, were released up to 60 days before their scheduled release date.

Barnes said the jail system has nine inmates who have been isolated after displaying COVID-19 symptoms, including five who have tested positive. There are 150 inmates who have been quarantined because of possible exposure to those cases even if they have not displayed symptoms.

Since March 1, the jail system has decreased its population by 838 inmates, including those who had been released according to their sentences, a decrease of 15% which puts the jail population at its lowest level in more than a decade.

Orange County health officials on Monday reported 37 new cases of coronavirus, bringing the total cases to 464. The county has seen four coronavirus-related deaths.

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As the impact of the coronavirus outbreak becomes more prominent, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department announced an increase in patrols and efforts to reduce the department's in-custody population to curb the potential spread of the virus.

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