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Monday, November 29, 2021

In Santa Clara County Jail, COVID-19 Surge Leaves No Room For Quarantine

Health officials overseeing medical care in the Santa Clara County prison system say the record rise in COVID-19 cases this month, centered at Elmwood Men’s Prison in Milpitas, has become so severe that they have failed to adequately isolate people because that they literally ran out of space.

Last week, they wrote in a memo to law enforcement, prosecutors and county public defenders that quarantine periods were cut from 14 days to 10 days in response to a sharp increase in infections that have resulted in 202 infections in prisons since early November. … This is more than a quarter of all infections in South Bay prisons since the start of the pandemic.

“There is no room in the cell for evicting (inmates) from the dorm, so they remain in their dorm and cannot be quarantined,” the note says. “If they cannot be quarantined, they could pass COVID-19 to each other in the coming days and weeks.”

A memo received by the news organization added that infected people in detention had to be relocated more frequently due to lack of space, increasing the risk of infection. One of the central recommendations of the prison health authorities and district health authorities was to bring the daily prison census to less than 2,000.

This would not be easy, since the census as of Monday morning was 2,464 people, of which 1,782 were in Elmwood. That total was part of a gradual increase as law enforcement officials, prosecutors, public defenders, probation and pre-trial detention officers agreed on amnesty and early release measures to cut the census from 3,200 to 2,100 in the first six months of the pandemic.

Over the past two weeks, similar but more modest efforts have resulted in a population decline of about 100 people.

As of the middle of last week, five people who contracted COVID-19 in the prison were hospitalized – four of them in intensive care, officials said.

On November 16, 159 active infections were reported in prisons, the highest rate since officials began tracking cases in the spring of 2020 and surpassed the sharp spike seen in January. On November 12 alone, 35 new cases were reported, making it the second highest one-day total.

One of the main differences between now and January is the availability of vaccines, although the people in detention are on a slow schedule. Fewer than half of the people who were infected during the current surge have been vaccinated, although vaccines and boosters – recently approved for all adults – are expected to be available to inmates in county prisons.

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Some people who had symptoms severe enough to be taken to the prison infirmary for monoclonal antibody treatment, but this did not happen with the vast majority of those infected. One person in custody in Elmwood said in an interview that he and most other men who have contracted COVID-19 received basic measures to deal with their symptoms.

“All they give us is cough drops and Tylenol,” the person said in a telephone interview with the news organization.

He and several others held in Elmwood also objected to the sheriff’s statement that masks were provided three times a week or upon request, stating that he had to use the same cloth mask for over a month. He also reiterated complaints related to the onset of the pandemic about long interruptions from work without clean washing and receiving small amounts of disinfectants and other cleaning products, if any, to maintain safe hygiene.

“They’re moving us right into the cameras of people who (previously) tested positive. We immediately entered the contaminated area without resources, ”he said. “No wonder people get sick.”

In addition, health officials said in their note that they are wary of a domino effect on staff throughput, given the surge and laboriousness of responses such as monoclonal treatments.

World Nation News Deskhttps://www.worldnationnews.com
World Nation News is a digital news portal website. Which provides important and latest breaking news updates to our audience in an effective and efficient ways, like world’s top stories, entertainment, sports, technology and much more news.
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