At least three employees with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) have tested positive for COVID-19, according to officials.
In a press release, a spokeswoman with the state department said one employee at California State Prison, Sacramento, and two employees at California Institution for Men have tested positive for COVID-19.
The San Quentin State Prison employee previously reported to have tested positive ultimately was a negative case, according to officials.
There are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 among inmates.
The Basic Correctional Officer Academy (BCOA) scheduled for March 24, 2020, has been postponed until further notice. The BCOA currently taking place has been accelerated to allow graduation to take place April 7, 2020.
As a precautionary measure, the Agency has activated the Department Operations Center (DOC) in order to be fully prepared to respond to any departmental impacts resulting from COVID-19.
At the DOC, experts can monitor information, prepare for certain situations and make decisions quickly.
State officials said they will continue to ensure inmate safety and security, and access to medical, dental, and mental health services for the incarcerated population.
Officials said in a statement, "The CDCR and CCHCS are dedicated to the safety of everyone who lives in, works in, and visits our state prisons. We have longstanding outbreak management plans in place to address communicable disease outbreaks such as influenza, measles, mumps, norovirus, and varicella, as well as preparedness procedures to address a variety of medical emergencies and natural disasters."
According to the CDCR, the following measures are being put into place at state prisons:
- social distancing
- screening of inmates when they enter reception centers, return from court or an off-site specialty appointment
- confirming cases among staff members
- limiting religious programs to in-cell service only
- postponing parole suitability hearings scheduled March 23rd through March 31st
- suspending written peace officer exams until April 6th
- suspending all non-urgent dental care for the next 14 days
- suspending transfers of patients between two mental health treatment facilities
- rescheduling all non-urgent off-site specialty appointments
In addition, CDCR's inmate telephone network provider Global Tel Link (GTL) is offering adult inmates two days of free phone calls. The next one will take place on Thursday, March 26th from 12 a.m. to 11:59 p.m.
Normal visiting at adult and juvenile facilities is canceled statewide until further notice which includes overnight family visits and Division of Juvenile Justice visiting.
Institution executives have been instructed to find opportunities to allow increased phone access for the incarcerated population so they may keep in touch with their support system, while also practicing social distancing and other infectious disease safety protocols.
At this time, legal/attorney visits and hospice visits will be held as scheduled, according to officials, however marriages will be postponed.
For more information and to check out all the protocols exercised by state prison officials amid coronavirus concerns, click here.