Breaking Down COVID-19 in CDCR Facilities 5.29.20


As of May 29th 2020, CDCR facilities have reported 1,319 COVID-19 cases and have tested 12,964 individuals. There have been 9 deaths associated with the California Institute for Men (CIM), located in Chino in San Bernardino County. The number of deaths at CIM has remained stagnant since May 25th. CIM leads in the number of confirmed cases and testing rates, which are 640 and 3,373 respectively.

While facilities attempt to increase testing rates, the bulk of confirmed cases remain concentrated at five southern CA facilities – California Institute for Men (CIM), Avenal State Prison (ASP), Chuckawalla State Prison (CVSP) , California Institute for Women (CIW)  and CA State Prison – LA (LAC). The number of cases in these prisons range from 120 to 640. Based on recommendations from the WHO, William Hanage, an epidemiologist at Harvard University, suggests that the ideal positive test rate for the country is 10%, i.e. out of 100 tests administered, 90 tests are negative and only 10 tests are positive for COVID-19. Currently, testing rates at Chuckawalla State Prison and Avenal State Prison are far from it.

As of May 19th, ASP had reported zero positive cases and within 10 days that number has increased to 216. ASP’s testing count has increased from 21 to 592 during this period. However, the percentage of positive tests is 36.48%, which is far from the 10% benchmark. Similarly, CVSP went from 28 confirmed cases to 186 in 10 days. The facility’s positive test rate is currently 48.56%, which is well below the benchmark for containing the virus.

The surge in positive cases, and lack of testing raises questions about CDCR’s efforts to contain and control the spread of COVID-19. The evidence continuously suggests that COVID-19 is lurking in CA prisons and more efforts need to be taken to control the numbers.

Despite not reporting any positive cases, Folsom State Prison (FSP) in Represa and Sacramento State Prison (SAC) in Folsom, both in Sacramento County, have continued to test individuals for the virus. FSP has reported testing 161 individuals, which reflects a 32% increase in testing since last week. Similarly, SAC reports testing 81 individuals, and this reflects a 48% increase in testing since last week.

There are zero confirmed cases in CDCR facilities located in Marin County, Solano County, Sacramento County, Amador County & San Joaquin County. Following patterns in Sacramento County, facilities in these five counties are continuing to test for the virus.

Note: The definition of tested aligns with that prescribed by Johns Hopkins University. Patients are considered to be tested only when the test result is returned, i.e. the testing count reported by a facility includes the total number of tests for which results have returned, and not the total number of tests administered.

Source: The California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation (CDCR) reports COVID-19 information through a daily dashboard that is accessible here –

Compiled and written by Aparna Komarla



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Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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