By Kelsey Kitzke
FRESNO – Defendants were absent from court on this past Wednesday due to an ongoing outbreak in COVID-19 outbreak in the Fresno County Jail.
According to reports by local news outlet ABC30, the outbreak of coronavirus in Fresno’s jail was first reported on June 19 when the north jail of Fresno’s county jail complex was placed under quarantine after 13 inmates tested positive for COVID-19. Over the following weeks, cases surged in the jail with 643 tests coming back positive.
Nearly two months later, it seems like the Fresno jail is continuing to struggle with containing and reducing its cases of coronavirus. Latest reports dated July 22 from the Fresno sheriff’s office have confirmed cases numbers at 471.
Infected inmates are placed into quarantine “pods” with as many as 72 other infected people. Their quarantine lasts 13 days; however, if a newly infected inmate enters the pod, the entire group must begin a new 13-day quarantine.
Inevitably, a jailhouse quarantine affects the entirety of the court system because many people in the county jail are waiting for the start of their trials.
The beginnings of this appeared in Fresno Court Wednesday morning as many defendants who were currently in custody were noted as being absent from the courtroom because they had been placed in isolation.
For those absent due to the jail COVID outbreak, their court hearings were mostly extended to later dates, extending the length of their court proceedings and their time in custody.
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