OROVILLE — The Butte County Sheriff’s Office announced Thursday it has begun administering doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to inmates at the Butte County Jail.

Butte County Public Health provided the Sheriff’s Office with enough doses of the vaccine to administer it to 100 inmates. According to a BCSO press release, the Sheriff’s Office is continuing to work with the county health department toward getting its entire inmate population vaccinated.

As of now, inmates are receiving the vaccine on a “voluntary basis.” Inmates 65 years of age and older, as well as those with underlying health conditions, are being prioritized to receive it. Wellpath, the jail’s medical provider, is administering the vaccine inside the jail’s medical facility.

According to the Sheriff’s Office, the vaccine is being provided to inmates at the jail because it is a congregate living environment, and thus, presents a higher risk of spreading the virus among inmates and staff members. This group falls into Phase 1B, Tier 2, under the state’s prioritization tiers.

The inmate population at the jail has been hit particularly hard, with a total of 313 cases that are now recovered out of 1,318 inmate tests to date. Three inmates cases at the jail are currently active. As for jail staff, there have been a total of 34 cases to date. All 34 have recovered and returned to work.

In a statement, Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said, “This is a big step forward in our ongoing effort to keep inmates and staff members working in the jail safe. It will also help control COVID-19 in our community, which is a benefit to everyone.”

Butte County Jail inmates begin receiving coronavirus vaccine