Disagreement has been reported over the cause of a spike in Covid-19 cases at Folsom State Prison.
Several prisoners blamed some correctional officers who were sent to aid heavily infected San Quentin Prison and brought the virus when they returned to Folsom. This was denied by Press Secretary Dana Simas of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR).
NBC Bay Area reported that in phone interviews, “seven separate people incarcerated at Folsom said at least two correctional officers sent to San Quentin came back to Folsom with the virus.” The Aug. 28 report added, “The virus soon began to spread along the tiers assigned to one of those officers, according to incarcerated sources housed in that building.”
Simas sent an email that said “there was no indication the ongoing outbreak at Folsom State Prison is related to staff who were redirected to San Quentin,” NBC Bay Area reported.
On August 20, the Los Angeles Times reported that where there had been a handful, the infection was once more quickly spreading at Folsom. More than 850 incarcerated and close to 40 prison staff had tested positive for COVID-19.
At that point, the death of one staff member at the prison had been attributed to the virus.
The Sacramento Bee reported on Sept. 16 that the outbreak, over a month-long, was growing rapidly. Over half of the confirmed cases among the incarcerated remained on active status, with a major spike of positive tests among 482 that were tested within the past two weeks.
CDCR reports testing over 500 incarcerated at Folsom from Sept. 8 to 11. As was the case at San Quentin, a 90-bed tent was established in the Folsom yard. It was only as recently as Aug. 12 that testing reflected less than one percent of the population was positive.
The Bee story also reported, “At least 60 inmates, and at least nine staff members, have died of the virus throughout California’s state prison system, CDCR says.”