COVID-19 Outbreak At San Quentin Prison Poses Serious Risks to Marin Community

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According to the California Department of Corrections, a San Quentin State Prison death row inmate died Saturday from what appear to be complications related to COVID-19. This follows the deaths of two other San Quentin inmates Friday. 

The growing coronavirus outbreak at the prison does increase the risk to residents of Marin County, health experts told KCBS Radio. 

Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, infectious disease specialist at University of California San Francisco, said there are a lot of residents who work in the prison system and go back and forth between the community and the prison. 

“The second issue is, of course, the prison doesn’t have ICU,” Dr. Chin-Hong said. “The prison doesn’t have an acute hospital.” 

Because of that, patients are being treated at hospitals in Marin.   

Marin Assemblymember Marc Levine said officials are working on a solution. 

“Weve been working on partnerships with 14 hospitals all the way up to Fulsom to make sure that prisoners who need hospitalization wont all fall to Marin or Bay Area hospitals,” Levine said. 

He added that the situation at San Quentin, where 40% of the inmates are now infected, is a tragedy that will likely get worse. 

“We’ll probably end up getting to 2,000 prisoners with COVID-19 and about 200 prisoners who need hospitalization.”