Among California corrections workers who have tested positive for COVID-19 are two nurses at the state’s medical prison near Stockton.
Internal prison records provided to The Times show the nurses, who worked in separate parts of the California Health Care Facility, tested positive on Sunday. In addition, another prison staff member is a “suspected case.” As a result, four medical blocks of the large prison have been put on medical quarantine — requiring staff wear masks and gloves at all times when in those units.
Past prison memos showed nurses were ordered not to wear masks unless near a diagnosed patient, and to make plans to reuse protective gear while on their rounds to conserve in the face of short supplies.
However, inmates in those housing units are ordered to wear protective masks only if they have symptoms of a coronavirus infection and leave the quarantined area. Meals are being delivered to cells, and only critical workers allowed within.
The two nurses are among five workers at the medical prison, and among 53 corrections departments statewide, who have tested positive. There are no confirmed inmate cases of COVID-19 at the prison, though 17 inmates at three other prisons have tested positive for the virus.
At a hastily called prison status conference, a federal judge Monday told lawyers for the state to provide information on whether current plans to release some 3,500 inmates up to 60 days early could be tripled, allowing inmates to leave the prison six months early.
“I don’t see any difference between 180 days and 60 days (in terms of public safety),” said U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar. “I see proximate release dates as low-hanging fruit.”
Tigar was part of a panel of three judges that on Saturday said it lacked authority to order mass prison releases, and directed inmates’ lawyers to take their case to individual courts.
Source : https://www.latimes.com/california/liveblog/coronavirus-live-updates-monday-april-6323