Testing Drops by Half Despite Ongoing Outbreaks in Sacramento County Jails – Breaking Down COVID-19 in CA Jails


(Page 1 & 2: San Francisco County Jails, Page 3 & 4: Santa Rita Jail, Page 5: Sacramento County Jails, Page 6: Sacramento County Juvenile Hall, Page 7 & 8: Santa Clara County Jails, Page 9 & 10: BSCC Data – All County Jails & Juvenile Detention Facilities)

Daily updates on the COVID-19 crisis in California’s county jail system

1. Alameda County Jail (Santa Rita Jail) – Highlights
On Jan. 21, two positive cases were resolved in custody and one new case emerged. There are 54 active COVID-19 cases in custody – 46 asymptomatic and eight symptomatic. However, minimal testing, poor quarantine protocols, and lack of proper testing suggest that there may be more cases than ACSO reports. There are currently 22 housing units quarantined, of which 13 are undergoing serial testing.

  • ACSO reports 7 current positive staff/contractor cases. There have been a total of 101 such cases, of which 94 have recovered.
  • SRJ’s population is currently 2134 people, showing a decrease of two people since Jan. 20. 
  • 7482 tests have been conducted to date, showing an increase of 17 tests. ACSO reports 155 pending tests.
  • While the weekly testing rate has historically been low, it has increased by eight percent. 10 percent of the jail population was tested within the seven-day period prior to Jan. 15. In the past week, 18 percent of the jail population was tested – still the highest testing rate recorded in a 7-day period.
  • SRJ has 179 orange patients – showing a decrease of four people since Jan. 20. Orange patients are currently healthy but considered at increased risk for COVID-19 according to the SRJ patient color coding system outlined in the SRJ COVID-19 Outbreak Control Plan.
  • SRJ has 15 red patients – showing an increase of two people since Jan. 20. Red patients have COVID-19 symptoms but are not COVID-19 positive.
  • SRJ also has 54 dark red patients – showing a decrease of one person since Jan.19 despite one new case today. Dark red patients have positive COVID-19 test results.
  • Red and dark red patients are released individually from their respective housing locations (Outpatient Housing Unit (OPHU), HU8A, HU8C, or HU34) when cleared by medical.
  • While HU 35A, B, and C were scheduled to be released on Jan. 5, COVID-19 results came back positive for index cases. Serial testing is being performed, and there is currently no release date.
  • While HU8E, HU 9A,E and HU 25D,E remain quarantined, serial testing is being performed due to positive COVID-19 results of index cases. There is currently no release date.
  • While HU 25A, B, and C have remained quarantined due to a patient presenting symptoms on Jan. 14, these housing pods are now used for dark red patients due to “expanded COVID-19 testing.”

Source: The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office updates their website daily with COVID-19 case and testing numbers from the jail. Darby Aono, a Berkeley Law student, has been recording the daily reports in a spreadsheet going back to early spring. 

2. San Francisco County Jails – Highlights
As of Jan. 21, there are 3 active cases in custody. 12 individuals have recovered while in custody.

There are 215 persons in quarantine, of which 38 are in medical isolation. Since Jan. 21, the quarantine and medical isolation populations decreased by 9 and increased by 25 individuals respectively. 

Overall, there have been 8,402 total bookings since April, an increase of 36 persons since Tuesday, Jan. 19. 10,613 cumulative tests have been administered thus far.

Since the pandemic emerged, SF Sheriff’s Office has released the majority of confirmed positive cases — 103 positive cases were released while active. SFSO continues to display an increasing trend of such releases. This strategy has aided SF jails in keeping their active cases under strict control unlike other counties in California.  

As of Jan. 21, the incarcerated population is 819 people, a decrease in 13 persons since the last report. Prior to this week, since early-November, the population had consistently remained below 800 people.

3. Solano County – Highlights
Solano County Jail
As of Aug. 17, there is 1 active case of COVID-19 in the jail. Since testing began in June, there have been five total confirmed cases. 421 total tests have been administered, 137 more than last week.

Solano Juvenile Detention Center
As of Aug. 17, there are still no confirmed cases in JDF. All individuals are tested at intake and are able to request another test if necessary.

4. Yolo County – Highlights
Yolo County Jail
As of Oct. 12, there are no confirmed cases out of 53 total tests administered in the jail. The jail population is currently 208, a slight increase since the last recorded population count on August 3, which was 193 persons. 1 person is in medical isolation in the jail.

Yolo County Juvenile Hall
As of July 13, Juvenile Hall reported one positive case out of the 24 tests conducted.

  • According to Yolo County Counsel, Phil Pogledich, “The one positive case is for a youth that tested at a local hospital before he was detained”. 
  • Data shows that the youth who tested positive was released while he was still COVID-19 active.

5. Sacramento County – Highlights
(Sacramento Main Jail & Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center)

As of Jan. 20, there are 993 cumulative confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Sacramento County Jail system. 

  • Between Jan. 13 and Jan. 20, 192 active cases were reported in the Main jail and 114 cases in the Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center (RCCC).
  • RCCC continuously reported no cases for 8 months, until Dec. 30, when it jumped to 58. By Jan. 6, cases reached 159, almost tripling. 
  • Current total population across both jails is 3,217 people, an increase of 51 since last week.
  • Between Jan. 13 and Jan. 20, 562 tests were administered, i.e. 17.5% of the total population was tested. It decreased by half from the previous week, when 33.89% of the population was tested. 
  • There was no data provided on the number of active cases released from custody or the number of resolved cases.
  • As of Jan. 16, there is 1 active case in the YDF. 17 youth were tested during the week of Jan. 9. Typically 10-15 youth are tested at the facility per week.
  • Sacramento Jail’s COVID-19 cover-up – https://www.davisvanguard.org/2020/08/sacramento-jails-covid-19-coverup-public-information-violations/

6. LA County – Highlights
LA Jail:
As of Sept. 14, there are 49 active cases of COVID-19 in the LA jail system.

  • Of the 49 active cases of the virus within the jail, 42 individuals are symptomatic and 7 asymptomatic. Since testing began, 2888 individuals have recovered from COVID-19 and 265 individuals were released while active. 
  • The total number of incarcerated people tested is approximately 23,058.
  • Since yesterday, 39 new individuals have been booked into the jail, and 51 have been released.
  • There are 43 results pending and 85 incarcerated people in medical isolation.

Note: According to LASD, isolation is designated for individuals with a temperature of 100.4 or higher, or exhibiting certain flu-like symptoms consistent with an upper respiratory infection. All patients in isolation/under observation have either tested positive or are pending results. Further, quarantine is designated for individuals who have had close contact with someone pending test results or a positive patient.

7. Orange County – Highlights
As of Sept. 15, there have been 556 total COVID-19 cases in the Orange County Jail. 

  • Currently, there are 19 active cases in the jail and 72 results pending.
  • At this time, there are 19 incarcerated people in medical isolation due to exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms.
  • There have been no significant increase in COVID-19 cases.

8. Santa Clara County – Highlights
As of Jan. 18, there are 107 active cases in custody. 

  • Cases have been rising since early December. It went from double digits to 100+ by the first week of January. Active cases have risen by nearly 650 percent since Dec. 31, when there were only 17 cases in custody. The highest case count so far was 127 on Jan. 11.
  • The jail population is currently at 2261 people – an increase of 26 people since Jan. 17. This is also the highest population count since the beginning of the month. In late December and early January, the population count saw a dip as it went down to the 2100s. However, for the past few weeks, it has gone up to the 2200s again.
  • Last week, 535 tests were administered between Monday and Thursday resulting in 42 positive results. In total, 16,281 tests have been completed since the pandemic emerged. 
  • There are 536 cumulative cases. 54 new cases have been reported since Jan. 14. 
  • Concerns from incarcerated people at Elmwood CC in Milpitas, Santa Clara County suggest that testing, sanitation, and quarantine protocols are not thorough enough to protect them from COVID-19.


Alameda County: County Sheriff’s Office updates their website at the end of the day with case and testing numbers from the jail —https://www.alamedacountysheriff.org/admin_covid19.php.
SF County: Director of Communications, San Francisco Sheriff’s Office.
Information on booking statistics: https://app.powerbigov.us/view?r=eyJrIjoiNmJhNmM4NDYtNWUxZi00N2FiLWIxNWItMTA3ZDc2MzY4OWEyIiwidCI6IjIyZDVjMmNmLWNlM2UtNDQzZC05YTdmLWRmY2MwMjMxZjczZiJ9
Information on COVID-19 cases in jails: https://www.sfsheriff.com/covid-19-jail-sfso-staff-data 
Solano County: Deputy Leron Cummings, the Public Information Officer, Solano County Sheriff’s Office and Shai Davis, Public Information Officer, Solano County Public Health Office.
Yolo County: Lieutenant Matt Davis, Yolo County Sheriff’s Department and Philip Pogledich, Yolo County Counsel
LA County: Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department Custody Division COVID-19 Fact Sheet: https://lasd.org/covid19updates/
Orange County: Orange County Sheriff’s Department: https://www.ocsd.org/about_ocsd/covid_19
Santa Clara County: Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office:
Sacramento County: Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office:
Board of State & Community Corrections (BSCC): On July 15, BSCC Chair, Linda Penner,  requested Sheriffs and Chief Probation Officers to release weekly COVID-19 data for jails and Youth Detention Facilities. This database remains incomplete as many facilities have refused to comply. Further, it does not contain historical data prior to July 20.

By Tiffany Devlin, Alana Bleimann, Ozge Terzioglu, Angela Khov & Aparna Komarla

Contact: Aparna Komarla (apkomarla@ucdavis.edu)


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