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Inmate who was previously hospitalized for COVID-19 found dead at Santa Barbara County Jail


SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - An inmate at the Santa Barbara County Jail who had previously been hospitalized for COVID-19 was found unresponsive in his cell Tuesday night.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office said Eduardo Velazquez, 38, of Santa Maria was found unresponsive in his cell at around 9 p.m. Jail staff rendered aid until paramedics arrived on scene, but Velazquez was pronounced dead about half an hour after he was found.

The sheriff's office said Velazquez was arrested by Santa Maria police back in July and was housed in the intake quarantine area. A few days after his arrest, he tested positive for COVID-19 and was transferred to medical isolation.

On July 17, Velazquez was hospitalized for treatment of COVID-19 after he began experiences medical complications. He was released from the hospital and returned to the jail on July 29 where he remained in medical isolation.

The sheriff's office said he received regular medical examinations and was showing no significant health issues prior to being found unresponsive in his cell.

His family has been informed of his passing.

The exact cause of his death is unclear, but the sheriff's office said it appears to be due to natural causes.

A full death investigation and autopsy to determine his cause of death is pending.

Velazquez was being held on $1,250,000 bail after he was arrested on a warrant for felonies including kidnaping, rape and multiple counts of sexual assault and abuse of a child.

At this time, it is unclear if Santa Barbara County will record this death as a COVID-19 death. COVID-19 will have to be listed on the death certificate as a leading or contributing cause of his death for the county to include this death in its totals.

Article Topic Follows: Santa Maria - Lompoc - North County

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Travis Schlepp

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