COVID-19 Cases Decline in Santa Clara & Sacramento County Jails After Massive Outbreaks

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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 Nov. 23, there are no active COVID-19 cases in Santa Rita Jail (SRJ). 
  • Two individuals were released from custody in the past week whilst having an active infection.

Population update:

  • There are 2150 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 189 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 11 “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.

Vaccination update:

  • Vaccinations for the incarcerated population are administered Tuesday through Thursday. The following stats are current as of Nov. 20, 2021.
    • In total, 1189 people who entered the jail were either fully vaccinated prior to their incarceration or by Wellpath medical staff in custody. 606 of them are still in custody, meaning 28.5% of the current population is fully vaccinated.
    • Similarly, 53 out of 162 partially vaccinated individuals are still in custody, meaning only 4.5% of the current population is partially vaccinated.

Housing unit quarantine update:

  • HU 31DEF are under quarantine due to exposure to a positive case.
  • HU 34DEF are under quarantine due to exposure to individuals experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19. 
Staff

Cases and testing update:

  • The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office (ACSO) reports no current positive staff/contractor cases. There have been a total of 170 staff/contractor cases during the pandemic, all of which have recovered.
  • On March 1, the Alameda County Public Health Dept. (ACPHD) 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 (CDPH) 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 CDPH’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 Nov. 24, there are no active COVID-19 cases in custody, out of 219 total confirmed cases. Since the beginning of October, 16 new cases were identified during the intake booking process or in custody. 
  • Between Nov. 13 and Nov. 20, approximately 355 tests were administered for new books and residents.

Population update: 

  • Between Nov. 17 and Nov. 23, 166 individuals were booked into custody. Since the pandemic emerged, there have been 17,102 total bookings, but 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 836 people in custody.

Vaccination update:

  • According to data provided by the Covid Media Center, as of June 24, 450 individuals or 57% of the population is fully vaccinated. 29 of them received their dose from the community, while the rest were vaccinated during their incarceration.
  • 286 out of the total vaccinated individuals who have been in custody were released or transferred. 

Quarantine and Isolation update:

  • Since Oct. 28, the quarantine population has decreased by 10 and the isolation population has increased by 2. As of Nov. 18, there are 158 persons in quarantine, of which 23 are in medical isolation.

Releases Update:

  • Since the pandemic emerged, a total of 201 cases out of 219 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:

  • SFSO reports no new positive staff cases between Nov. 11 and Nov. 17.  There have been a total of 132 staff cases during the pandemic, 121 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. (SFDPH) issued a mandatory testing order for the Sheriff’s Office 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 (CDPH) issued a mandatory testing order for unvaccinated staff only, thereby overriding the SFDPH’s order. Information on the implementation and compliance with this 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 Nov. 10, 14 active cases were reported in the Main Jail, while the Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center (RCCC) reported 120 active cases. The jails have been in the midst of a massive outbreak for the last 3 weeks.
  • On Nov. 3, the first COVID-related death was reported. The Dept. of Health Services (DHS) disclosed that the deceased individual was a fully vaccinated 76-year-old male who had multiple underlying health conditions. He was hospitalized on Oct. 25 and died shortly after. 
  • Between Nov. 3 and Nov. 10, 571 new tests were administered to new books and residents — 17.12% of the total population was tested.
    NOTE: Since the population is constantly in flux with new bookings, releases and transfers, this percentage may be an overestimate.
  • Between Nov. 7 and Nov. 13, the Juvenile Detention Facility (JDF) identified no positive cases after testing 25 youth or 19.84% of the population. Since the week of Nov. 6, there has been a 40.47% decrease in testing.

Population update:

  • There are 3,336 people in custody at the Main Jain and RCCC — an increase of 76 since Nov. 3.  

Vaccination update:

  • The vaccination stats for the incarcerated population are obtained via the public records act since the Sacramento Sheriff’s Office (SSO) does not make this data publicly available. As of Oct. 20,
    • 2020 incarcerated individuals were fully vaccinated and 357 were partially vaccinated according to the DHS – an increase of 335 and 43 since Aug. 25 respectively.
      NOTE: These counts include those who were released or transferred after receiving a vaccine – it is not the current number of 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.
Staff

Vaccination update:

  • According to data released by the DHS, as of Aug. 25, 434 healthcare/SSO staff have been fully vaccinated and 22 are partially vaccinated. The total number of healthcare/SSO staff is unavailable and so is the vaccination rate.

5. Santa Clara County – Highlights

Incarcerated Population

Cases and testing update:

  • As of Nov. 19, there are 125 active COVID-19 cases in Santa Clara County’s Main Jail and Elmwood Correctional Complex. The facilities are in the midst of a massive outbreak.
  • There have been a total of 977 cases since April 2020, of which 271 were confirmed during booking and 706 were confirmed in custody. The 14-day average for new cases per day is now at 14.07.

Population update:

  •  There are 2409 people in custody. The population has risen by over 300 people since Jan. 2021, after months of declining numbers during the pandemic. 

Testing update:

  • 45,050 tests have been completed thus far, of which 950 came back positive. The 14-day average test positivity rate is now at 7.86%

Vaccination update: 

  • Vaccination data was obtained via public records requests 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 currently 10 active cases among staff in the SCCSO. Out of 84,569 tests that have been completed so far, 326 cases were identified. 
  • 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:

  • As of Oct. 7, 86% of the entire SCCSO is fully vaccinated. The data for custody staff is unknown for October, however, as of Aug. 5 roughly 64% of the custody division is fully vaccinated.
  • As of July 15, 2021, 346 of 403 CHS staff or 86% are fully vaccinated. The remaining 14% are either unvaccinated or declined to disclose their 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 “COVID-19 Cases Decline in Santa Clara & Sacramento County Jails After Massive Outbreaks”

  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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