California’s oldest penitentiary is fighting a widespread outbreak of coronavirus, which has affected nearly a third of its prisoners.
San Quentin State Prison more than 1,000 positive cases of coronavirus recorded on Monday morning in California This was stated by Governor Gavin Newsom at a press briefing., As of Wednesday, 3507 prisoners were in prison. California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation,
“This is our deep attention and concern,” Newsom said. He added that 42% of prisoners in San Quentin are considered “medically vulnerable.”
The San Quentin outbreak is more than double the outbreak at the California Institute of Men in Chino. According to data published by CDCRAt the California Institute of Men, 509 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed. By Monday evening, 1,059 confirmed cases were recorded in San Quentin, according to the same data.
CDCR spokeswoman Dana Simas said in a statement to the US today that more than half of the 2,059 active cases in prisons across the state account for cases in San Quentin.
“The CDCR, along with California Correctional Health Care Services experts, is preparing to set up air-conditioned tents at San Quentin State Prison and coordinating logistics to determine the most efficient use of supplementary medical triage and housing,” said Simas. More details will be provided after the final decision. ”
Newsom said the cause of the San Quentin outbreak is still under investigation, but pointed to the transfer of prisoners from Chino.
“Unfortunately, they arrived unverified and were placed in San Quentin and did in part trigger an outbreak in a second government facility,” said Dr. Matt Willis, Marine County Public Health Officer. told NPR,
According to CDCR, more than 4,800 prisoners tested positive for coronavirus in the California prison system since the first positive result on March 22. Newsom said there are approximately 113,000 prisoners in the state penal system.
Simas outlined a number of mitigation measures, including suspending normal personal visits, reducing population density in dormitories, providing masks for prisoners and staff, and “chess meals, phone calls, and showers.”
The outbreak affects some renewal plans in the Marin County, where San Quentin is located. Gyms, personal services, hotels and short-term rentals, which were originally opened on Monday, were “suspended” according to Willis.
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“San Quentin is experiencing the largest COVID-19 prison outbreak in the state,” Willis said in a video update on Friday. “This highlighted the capacity of the local hospital because at least 25 prisoners needed hospitalization in the region.”
Newsom said the Seton Medical Center is a potential location, “if we need to transfer many, many patients to the hospital system from San Quentin.”
The state has identified 110 prisoners in San Quentin who are eligible for early release as part of a program that California used during the coronavirus pandemic, Newsom said. Prisoners who meet certain criteria and within 180 days from the date of their release are entitled to early release during a pandemic.
To date, according to Newsom, 3,500 prisoners have been released, and another 3,500 may be released.
But, Newsom added, 70 prisoners from San Quentin who were recognized as eligible for release have nowhere to go.
“Do you worsen a bad situation by freeing someone who is not ready for release because he has no place to stay?” Newsom said. “They have no place to go. They have no plans. ”
California has seen a surge in cases of coronavirus. On Sunday, Newsom announced mandatory closure of bars in seven countiesincluding Los Angeles County, the most populous state.
Golden State ranks second in the number of confirmed cases in a country with more than 222,000, according to Johns Hopkins University,
This article originally appeared in the USA TODAY: San Quentin coronavirus outbreak affects nearly a third of prisoners