By CBS13 Staff

SONORA (CBS13) — Thirteen inmates will be released following a COVID-19 outbreak at the Tuolumne County Jail, authorities said Wednesday night.

The Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office said 16 inmates in three housing units tested positive for the virus. As a result, the sheriff’s office will reduce the jail population to 50% to allow for safer conditions and adequate space.

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The inmates that will be released were described as non-violent offenders and were within 30 days of the end of their sentence. The inmates were expected to be released by Thursday morning.

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“The safety of our community is my number one priority,” said Bill Pooley, Tuolumne County sheriff. “We are working to strike a balance between keeping our residents safe and ensuring that the inmates, who are under our care, are adequately treated for COVID-19.”

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The sheriff’s office said it is working with the Department of Public Health to maintain quarantine procedures and testing protocols.