New COVID-19 Cases Reported At San Francisco, Santa Clara and Sacramento County Jails

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This report is written by the Covid In-Custody Project — an independent journalism project that partners with the Davis Vanguard to bring reporting on the pandemic in California’s county jails and Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) to the public eye. Refer to our website to view and download the raw data.

1. Alameda County Jail (Santa Rita Jail) – Highlights

Incarcerated Population

Cases and testing update:

  • As of Oct. 19, there are 2 active COVID-19 cases in Santa Rita Jail (SRJ), one of which is asymptomatic and one that is symptomatic. 7 housing units are currently quarantined. 
  • One individual was released from custody this week whilst having an active infection.

Population update:

  •  There are 2221 people in custody. The population has been on an overall downward trend for the past month, which correlates with a high number of transfers for individuals who were pending transfer to state prisons. At the beginning of 2021, over 170 individuals were pending transfer to the CA Department of Corrections. This number has dropped to 9 as of Sept. 17.
  • SRJ has 204 medically vulnerable or “orange” patients in custody. These patients are currently healthy but considered at increased risk for developing complications associated with COVID-19 according to the jail’s Outbreak and Control Plan.
  • SRJ has 10 “red” patients with symptoms consistent with COVID-19. These patients have COVID-19 symptoms but have not tested positive either because they refused testing or are awaiting test results.

Testing update:

  • 16.64% of the jail population was tested within the seven-day period prior to Oct. 12th. In the past week, 15.35% of the jail population was tested.

Vaccination update:

  • Vaccinations for the incarcerated population are administered Tuesday through Thursday. The following stats are current as of Oct. 15, 2021.
    • 1047 people either entered custody with a full vaccination or were fully vaccinated by Wellpath staff while in custody. 554 of them are still in custody, meaning roughly only 25.4% of the current population is fully vaccinated.
    • Similarly, 57 out 147 partially vaccinated individuals are still in custody, meaning only 2.6% of the current population is partially vaccinated.

Housing unit quarantine update:

  • HU 24 ABCDEF and HU 8E are under quarantine due to exposure to a positive case. HU 24 ABCDEF is undergoing surveillance testing.
Staff

Cases and testing update:

  • The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office (ACSO) reports 1 current positive staff/contractor cases. There have been a total of 165 staff/contractor cases during the pandemic, 164 of which have recovered.
  • On March 1, the Alameda County Public Health Dept. issued a mandatory testing order for ACSO SRJ employees. According to the order, staff were required to get tested every 14 days, regardless of their vaccination status. Information on compliance with this order can be found here. On July 26, the CA Dept. of Public Health issued a mandatory testing order for unvaccinated staff only, thereby overriding the county’s order.
    • According to data reported by Capt. Luckett-Fahimi, in the Sept. 26 – Oct. 2 testing period, out of 1162 staff that are assigned to work at SRJ, 506 were fully vaccinated and another 126 were exempted since they did not work a shift at the jail. Out of the 530 remaining staff that needed to comply with the state’s order, 530 or 94% submitted to a test. 

Vaccination update:

  • According to data released by ACSO on Oct. 8, 49.4% of the entire ACSO staff, and 52.8% of ACSO staff who work at SRJ are fully vaccinated.
    NOTE: The vaccination rate for SRJ staff includes not only ACSO employees who belong to the custody bureau but also those who work at other duty stations and are assigned to work at SRJ on mandatory overtime.
  • According to the CA Dept. of Public Health’s Aug. 19 health order, all medical staff members who work in custody settings that provide in-house medical care must get vaccinated by Oct. 14. The order also requires non-medical staff who may transmit infections by virtue of being in a medical setting, to get vaccinated. 

2. San Francisco County Jails – Highlights

Incarcerated Population

Cases and testing update:

  • As of Oct. 19, there are 6 active COVID-19 cases in custody, out of 215 total confirmed cases. Since the beginning of October, 12 additional cases have been identified. 
  • Between Oct. 2 and Oct. 16, approximately 48 tests were administered for new books and residents.

Population update: 

  • Between Oct. 6 and Oct. 8, 73 individuals were booked into custody. Since the pandemic emerged, there have been 15,797 total bookings. Despite the high intake rate, the incarcerated population has consistently stayed within the range of 750 to 850 people since April 2020. Currently, there are 832 people in custody.

Vaccination update:

  • As of June 24, 15 individuals currently in custody are partially vaccinated and 450 are fully vaccinated, meaning roughly 57% of the population is fully vaccinated.
  • 29 fully vaccinated individuals received their dose from the community, while the rest were vaccinated while in custody.
  • 286 incarcerated people out of the total vaccinated population who have been in custody were released or transferred. 

Quarantine and Isolation update:

  • Since Sept. 30, the quarantine population has not increased and the isolation population has increased by 21. As of Oct. 7, there are 147 persons in quarantine, of which 56 are in medical isolation.

Releases Update:

  • Since the pandemic emerged, a total of 190 cases out of 215 confirmed cases have been either released while positive or released after recovery. 
  • According to the San Francisco Sheriff Office’s (SFSO) website, “the [SF] courts approved multiple early releases as stipulated by the District Attorney and Public Defender and continue to review stipulations”. This strategy has, indirectly, aided the jails in keeping their active cases under strict control, evidenced by the fact that there have been no major outbreaks since the pandemic emerged. In fact, the highest number of cases recorded on a single day was 11.
Staff

Cases and testing update:

  • The SFSO reports 4 new positive staff cases between Sept. 28 and Oct. 14.  There have been a total of 129 staff cases during the pandemic, 113 of which have recovered and returned to work.
  • The number of COVID-19 tests administered at city health sites per week ranges from 100 to 200, with an average 133 tests per week.
  • On March 24, the San Francisco Public Health Dept. issued a mandatory testing order for SFSO employees. Despite multiple public records requests, no data has been provided on the compliance with the order. Further, on July 26, the CA Dept. of Public Health issued a mandatory testing order for unvaccinated staff only, thereby overriding the county’s order. Information on the implementation and compliance with the state’s order is also unknown.

Vaccination update:

  • As of June 3, according to data retrieved via public records request, only 269 or 59% of SFSO sworn custody staff have been fully vaccinated. This number does not include civilian custody staff or other SFSO staff members who work at the jails on mandatory overtime or other assignments. 

3. Yolo County – Highlights

Yolo County Jail

Data reporting halted as of March 2021.

4. Sacramento County – Highlights

Incarcerated Population

Cases and testing update:

  • As of Oct. 6, 4 active cases were reported in the Main Jail, while the Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center (RCCC) reported 1 active case. Between Sept. 29 and Oct. 6, 305 new tests were administered to new books and residents, meaning that at most 9.57% of the total population was newly tested. NOTE: Since the population is constantly in flux with new bookings, releases and transfers, it is possible that this percentage is an overestimate.
  • Between Sept. 26 and Oct. 2, the Juvenile Detention Facility (JDF) identified one case after testing 46 youth or 44.66% of the incarcerated population. Since the week of August 14, there has been a 26.6% decrease in testing.

Population update:

  • There are 3,188 people in custody at the Main Jain and RCCC — an increase of 47 since Sept. 26. 

Vaccination update:

  • The vaccination stats for the incarcerated population are obtained via the public records act. As of Aug. 25,
    • 1685 incarcerated individuals were fully vaccinated and 314 were partially vaccinated from the community or by Jail Health Services – an increase of 320 and 460 since July 14 respectively. 
    • These counts include those who were released or transferred after receiving a vaccine– it is not the current number of fully or partially vaccinated individuals in custody. Since the population is in constant flux with new bookings, releases and transfers, it is impossible to ascertain the degree of immunity against COVID-19 in the jails using the available data.
Staff

Vaccination update:

  • According to data released by Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO), as of Aug. 25, 434 healthcare/SCSO staff have been fully vaccinated and 22 staff are partially vaccinated. However, the SCSO has refused to provide the total number of healthcare/SCSO staff so it is impossible to ascertain the percentage of staff who have been vaccinated.

5. Santa Clara County – Highlights

Incarcerated Population

Cases and testing update:

  • As of Oct. 13, there are 2 active COVID-19 cases in Santa Clara County’s Main Jail and Elmwood Correctional Complex.
  • There have been a total of 707 cases since April 2020, of which 257 were confirmed during booking and 450 were confirmed in custody. The 14-day average for new cases per day is now at .93.

Population update:

  •  There are 2503 people in custody – an increase of 54 since the last report on Oct. 8. The population has fluctuated over the past month but has consistently been over 2400 since late September.

Testing update:

  • 39,638 tests have been completed thus far, of which 695 came back positive. The 14-day average test positivity rate stands at 1.02%

Vaccination update: 

  • Vaccination data was obtained via the public records act since the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office (SCCSO) does not make detailed data on vaccine uptake available to the public. As of July 12, 2021, 
    • 1620 incarcerated individuals were fully vaccinated either from the community or by Jail Health Services. Of these, 1023 remain in custody and the remaining were released or transferred, meaning 42.5% of the population is currently fully vaccinated. A majority of fully vaccinated individuals received the J&J dose.
    • 96 incarcerated individuals or 2.2% of the population is partially vaccinated, with the majority receiving Moderna.
Staff

Cases and testing update:

  • There are no active cases among staff in the SCCSO. Total cases identified as of Oct.13 stand at 299. 78,048 staff tests have been completed
  • On Nov. 12 2021, the health officer for Santa Clara County issued a mandatory testing order for all workers and staff who enter the jail’s premises including Public Defenders, Probation Dept. staff, Sheriff’s Office employees, medical workers, etc. 
    • As of June 3, 2021, 100% of SCCSO jail staff have complied with the order.
    • As of July 11, 86.57% of Jail Health Services’ staff of 268 have complied. Medical staff undergo testing daily, and in the latest testing block, 36 were out of compliance.

Vaccination update:

  • In Santa Clara’s Public Safety and Justice Committee meeting, an SCCSO representative stated that as of June 3, roughly 646 staff members or 60% of the SCCSO’s custody division, and 1122 staff members or 68% of the entire SCCSO staff, are fully vaccinated 
  • As of July 15, 2021, 346 CHS staff members out of 403 or 86% are fully vaccinated. 14% of staff are either not vaccinated or declined to disclose their vaccination status. 

Sources:
View and download raw data here: www.covidincustody.org/data -> View and download data.
Read reports on data, policies and protocols: www.covidincustody.org/reporting -> County Jails -> “County Name”
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.
http://www.bscc.ca.gov/covid-19-data-dashboard-landing-page/

By Aparna Komarla, Anumita Alur, Aziza Nussipov, Anna Zheng, Alexander Ramirez

Contact: Aparna Komarla (apkomarla@ucdavis.edu)

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About The Author

Aparna Komarla leads the Covid In-Custody project, which partners with the Davis Vanguard to bring reporting on the pandemic's impact on county jails and CDCR to the public eye. See www.covidincustody.org for more information.

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One thought on “New COVID-19 Cases Reported At San Francisco, Santa Clara and Sacramento County Jails”

  1. Keith Olsen

    Ha, remember the video of the convicts passing around and sipping on the same cup of water where they were trying to catch COVID?  Get of of jail free card…

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