Advocates call for early releases following COVID-19 outbreak, inmate death at Sacramento County jail

Local News

SACRAMENTO COUNTY, Calif. (KTXL) — Family, friends and community members called on Sacramento County leaders to release inmates on emergency grounds following the death of an inmate and a COVID-19 outbreak at two correctional facilities.

Just last month, the county confirmed there was an ongoing outbreak at the Sacramento County Main Jail and the Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center.

A group of advocates gathered in front of the Sacramento County Administration Building Tuesday morning to demand changes within the jail.

“The conditions are horrific. I mean, despite what they have told us, they have no real plans to keep these people safe,” said Jael Barnes, whose husband is incarcerated in Sacramento County. “Let’s remember that at the end of the day, there are jail staff coming in and out of the jail bringing this virus to their families and the random people they encounter.” 

Advocates also asked the county to release non-violent inmates awaiting trial.

On Oct. 22, health officials confirmed an investigation was underway after COVID-19 outbreaks involving roughly 70 inmates at the two facilities.

By Monday night, the county announced a 76-year-old Sacramento County inmate died due to complications from COVID-19. He tested positive for the virus after he was admitted to the hospital due to low oxygen levels on Oct. 25, officials said. The man was being treated for “long term significant and multiple underlying health conditions” and had been vaccinated in June 2021 while in custody.  

A spokesperson for the county said they are following current COVID-19 protocols, which include frequent testing and quarantining those who have come into contact with people who tested positive.

Since March of 2020, the county says there have been more than 2,000 confirmed cases between the Sacramento County Main Jail and the Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center.

On Oct. 22, health officials confirmed an investigation was underway after a COVID-19 outbreak involving roughly 70 inmates at the two facilities.

Monday night, the county announced a 76-year-old Sacramento County inmate died due to complications from COVID-19. He tested positive for the virus after he was admitted to the hospital due to low oxygen levels on Oct. 25, officials said. The man was being treated for “long term significant and multiple underlying health conditions” and had been vaccinated in June 2021 while in custody.  

A spokesperson for the county said they are following current COVID-19 protocols, which include frequent testing and quarantining those who have come into contact with people who tested positive.

Sacramento County Health Services works closely with the Sheriff’s Department to ensure all State and Federal COVID guidelines and health protocols are followed in jail facilities to ensure the health and safety of inmates.

There are four types of COVID-19 housing units in each jail including Intake Quarantine (new arrivals), Close Contact Quarantine (exposed to someone with possible symptoms but has no symptoms), Suspect Isolation (symptoms but pending testing) and Confirmed Cases.

Robust testing procedures are in place, including testing of all transfer and new intakes prior to the conclusion of their Intake Quarantine period. Any inmate exhibiting symptoms consistent with the CDC COVID-19 symptom list is tested and if confirmed, placed in COVID Case Isolation.  Inmates who may have been exposed are placed under quarantine.

Correctional Health staff complete health checks for patients in the COVID-19 housing units. This includes symptom screening, temperature and oxygen saturation level check, and patient education on current COVID-19 symptoms.

All inmates are all offered COVID vaccinations, provided education about the benefits of vaccination, and are welcome to participate in the inmate vaccination incentive program. As of October 27, 2,429 inmates received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose. 

Staff are under a State Public Health Order for Corrections.  This includes mandatory vaccination for health care, custody and inmate workers OR qualified exemptions plus weekly testing.

As of 10/27/2021:

Total number of COVID-19 tests since March 2020: 24,310

Total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases since March 2020: 2,018

Sacramento County Department of Helth Services

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Don't miss

Latest News

More News