Visits at the Santa Barbara County Jail will be suspended indefinitely as of Saturday as a way to protect inmates and staff from infection with novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

“While there have not been any identified cases of COVID-19 in Santa Barbara County, the Sheriff’s Office will be exercising an abundance of caution” in halting the visits, said Raquel Zick, a sheriff’s spokeswoman.

“The Sheriff’s Office values visitation as an essential part of rehabilitation, but at this time we must make difficult decisions in order to protect the health and wellness of all who live in, work in, and visit our correctional facility,” she added.

The county’s Main Jail at 4436 Calle Real near Goleta typically has about 900 inmates, Zick said, adding that, of those, only about 300 actually receive visits.

The suspension of visits will be “until further notice,” Zick said.

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.