San Francisco—Intensive Care Unit (ICU) centers at Saint Francis Memorial Hospital in San Francisco, Marin General, and Seton Medical Center in Daly City are currently treating at least 25 inmates from San Quentin State Prison who are in need of medical care after contracting the coronavirus.
This comes on the heels of a large and still growing COVID-19 outbreak at the prison. According to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s (CDCR) website, as of June 29, 1011 of the 1059 confirmed positive COVID-19 cases at San Quentin State Prison have come in the last 14 days. Additionally, 102 prison staff have come down with the coronavirus.
California public health officials believe that the outbreak at San Quentin came from a transfer of over 120 inmates from the California Institution for Men in Chino to San Quentin in May. The CDCR subsequently cancelled a prison transfer planned for Monday, June 29 after finding out that two of the inmates had tested positive.
On Sunday, June 28, a prisoner rights group held a town hall to address concerns they have regarding this pandemic’s impact on prisoners. Prisoner advocates are demanding that California Governor Newsom and CDCR release more prisoners during this pandemic to limit the risk of the virus spreading further in overcrowded prisons.
For example, activist and former San Francisco mayoral candidate Richie Greenberg told KPIX 5 that prisoners who test negative and have less than 180 days left on their sentences should be released.
“That we should only release or reduce population by non-violent, low-level drug offenders is a very false narrative that is put out there in terms of who’s deserving or non-deserving,” said Adnan Khan with Re:store Justice to KPIX 5.
Regardless of who gets released, hospitals in San Francisco and across the state are likely to continue receiving sick inmates unless the CDCR finds a way to contain the rapidly spreading virus.