Testing Rates Drastically Decrease as Positive Cases Persist in Solano County – Weekly Highlights – Breaking Down COVID-19 in CA Jails

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By Nikki Suzani

Highlights (July 27th – August 3rd)

  • Solano County Jail has one active case in the jail, and two total positive cases since testing began in June.
  • 231 total tests were administered as of Aug. 3 — an increase of exactly 1 test since last Monday. This is in harsh contrast to last week when testing increased by 34%.
  • 49 incarcerated persons have been released under court order. In order to be released, persons must be reviewed by the District Attorney’s Office and meet the following criteria: 1) be within 60 days of release, 2) not be a sex offender, domestic violence offender, or have any violent crimes in the past 5 years, and 3) have residence to shelter-at-home or at a program.

After reporting their first positive test, the jail stopped administering tests to its population, and the only test administered came back positive. This implies a 100% positive test rate since last week. 

This has serious implications for the jail. It is very likely that there are many more positive cases that have not been identified. It is unclear why more incarcerated persons are not being tested, especially as the source previously told the Vanguard that there were enough tests available for all persons.

At the same time, the Solano County Sheriff’s Office has also decided to only provide weekly updates rather than daily updates on COVID-19 rates to the Vanguard. There is no clear reason for this. Last week, the Office stated they would create a database solely for the Vanguard’s data requests. When asked about the change in direction, Deputy Le’Ron Cummings said that they want to provide “the most up-to-date” information, but did not comment on the fact that they had previously provided daily numbers.

The Vanguard was able to get more information from Cummings about the health precautions that have been taken at the facility. When new incarcerated persons enter the jail, they are placed in “quarantine housing” for 14 days, after which they are cleared to enter the jail housing. There is a monitored medical housing unit specifically for persons who display symptoms or are confirmed positive. They stay in medical isolation there until they are cleared.

In terms of masks and hand sanitizer, the jail does not require incarcerated persons to wear masks at all times, however, they are available and provided to any person who asks. Additionally, the jail has also not provided any hand sanitizer, only “extra soap and water for hand washing.”

The drastic halt in testing and lack of transparency in reporting raises alarms about the health and safety of the incarcerated population in Solano County Jail. 

Source: Deputy Le’Ron Cummings, Public Information Officer – Solano County Sheriff’s Office

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