An outbreak is defined as three or more epidemiologically linked cases of COVID-19 among incarcerated persons (IP) within the past 14 days.
During Outbreak Phase, operations, programs, and services will be modified to minimize the risk for ongoing transmission of COVID-19.
On July 7, 2022, the CDCR and the California Correctional Health Care System (CCHCS) released an update to the statewide Roadmap to Reopening. Here, we reproduce selected sections pertaining to the plan’s Covid-19 Outbreak Phase, as well as the Open Phase, also known as the “New Normal.”
This information is taken directly from the CDCR and CCHCS joint memo.
When an outbreak is identified in a facility, all IP who program together within that facility shall be placed in Outbreak Phase. An exception can be made for housing units within the outbreak facility that do not program with other units, such as administrative segregation units, COVID-19 isolation units, and reception center units to include intake quarantine units.
Once an outbreak is identified, the institution shall progress from routine surveillance COVID-19 testing to enhanced outbreak response testing of employees and IP. The purpose of this enhanced testing is to identify additional infected individuals and outbreak areas within the institution. The enhanced testing plan will be developed by the CEO and Warden in consultation with the Regional Health Care Executive (RHCE) and Associate Director (AD).
If not all IP consent to testing, the Warden and CEO shall consult with the RHCE, AD, and CCHCS Public Health to determine if response testing has been adequate to transition from Outbreak Phase to Open Phase. In the absence of testing, the Outbreak Phase will in most cases be extended and monitoring for COVID-19 symptoms will be essential.
Any quarantine that extends past 21 days shall require consultation with the RHCE, AD, and CCHCS Public Health to determine why programming has not resumed.
General Provisions for Institutional Operations, Programs and Health Care Services during Outbreak Phase:
Every effort shall be made to continue essential healthcare during Outbreak Phase. In addition to face coverings, enhanced hygiene, and improved ventilation, modifications may be necessary, including:
- Cell front or in-unit clinical encounters
- Mental Health in-cell activities and programming
- Cell front or ion-unit medication distribution
- Temporary postponement of routine services that are not deemed to be high priority or emergent
Outbreak facilities/buildings will be closed to in-person, video, and family visiting during quarantine and isolation.
Outbreak facilities/buildings will be closed to media access, film requests, and stakeholder tours.
No outside vendors, non-essential contractors, or non-employees will be permitted in outbreak areas other than those who are essential for supplying needed goods. Essential vendors, contractors, and non-employees include:
- Integrated Substance Use Disorder Treatment program providers, including Alcohol and Other Drug Counselors
- California Department of Veterans Affairs representatives
- Design and construction activities performed by consultants, general contractors, and the Inmate/Ward Labor program
IP workforce will be limited to essential functions within their outbreak units.
Yard access shall be by housing unit.
Meals will be provided within the housing unit or controlled feeding in the dining halls.
Showers and phone calls shall be provided with cleaning in between uses.
Dayroom access within the same living quarters.
Sports equipment may be issued if used only by IPs who live within the same unit IP; equipment is to be cleaned after use.
Recreational activities (card games, board games, etc.) may be issued to IP who live within the same unit, with disinfection of the items between uses.
Students will be eligible to receive independent study packets.
Students shall be administered educational assessments within their housing unit.
Law Library: Paging only. Recreational reading books made available to IP in housing units; access to assistive devices shall be provided in libraries or housing units, including devices for vision impaired individuals, upon request.
The following programs will not be provided to IP housed in outbreak areas: Offender Mentor Certification Program, in-person college, and Innovative Grants Program/Arts in Corrections/Volunteer programs. Every effort will be made to provide in-cell activities.
Congregate/group religious activities may be provided to IP within their units.
IP received from county jails shall be placed into cohorts on quarantine status in a single housing unit/dorm and continue to receive program and services separate from isolation or quarantine housing units/dorms.
Open Phase (New Normal)
To move to Open Phase, the facility, or housing unit must have no new IP outbreak cases for 14 days as noted above.
Individual housing units may move from Outbreak Phase to Open Phase independently as long as they are conducting enhanced COVID-19 response testing, have had no new IP outbreak cases for 14 days and they have not been programming with other housing units.
In the absence of sufficient testing, the Warden and CEO shall consult with the RHCE, AD, and CCHCS Public Health. In most cases, the Outbreak Phase will be extended.
IP who are housed in a facility or housing unit that is in Outbreak Phase shall not be permitted to program with IP in other facilities or housing units.
If a facility experiences a COVID-19 outbreak among IP, the facility shall revert to Outbreak Phase restrictions as described above.
General Provisions for Institutional Operations, Programs and Health Care Services:
Facilities and housing units within facilities that have progressed to Open Phase shall return to normal operations for all IP programming and activities.
COVID-19 precautions shall continue to be observed consistent with latest direction.