COVID-19 Preparedness

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Please see today’s updates to CDCR and CCHCS COVID-19 preparedness and response.

May 28, 2020 update:

  • There are 952 incarcerated persons with active cases of COVID-19 statewide. To view more detailed case and testing information, see the CDCR and CCHCS Patient Testing Tracker.
  • There are currently 131 active CDCR/CCHCS employee COVID-19 cases statewide (288 cumulative; 157 returned to work). See the CDCR/CCHCS COVID-19 Employee Status webpage for a breakdown by location.
  • To further COVID-19 response efforts, CDCR/CCHCS has identified nearly 700 individuals at the California Institution for Men (CIM) in dormitory housing deemed at a potentially higher risk for complications due to comorbidities if they were to contract COVID-19. These individuals will be relocated to other institutions in the state in small cohorts. All individuals have been tested prior to being moved and will also be screened by health care professionals immediately before the transfer. Receiving institutions will work closely with health care, public health, and operations experts to take all precautionary measures necessary with these arriving cohorts to ensure the agency is limiting any potential risk for COVID spread. Decisions on transfer locations will be based on current situational operations and will be adjusted at any time as necessary. These moves will allow for increased physical distancing within our dormitory settings at CIM.

Executives and staff at CDCR and CCHCS are working closely with infectious disease control experts to minimize the impact of COVID-19 on our operations. To ensure we are ready to immediately respond to any COVID-19 related incident, CDCR/CCHCS activated the Department Operations Center (DOC) in order to be fully prepared to respond to any departmental impacts resulting from COVID-19. The DOC is a central location where CDCR/CCHCS experts monitor information, prepare for known and unknown events, and exchange information centrally in order to make decisions and provide guidance quickly. We will continue to ensure inmate safety and security, and the continuation of access to medical, dental, and mental health services for the incarcerated population.

CDCR/CCHCS are dedicated to the safety of everyone who lives in, works in, and visits our state prisons. We have longstanding outbreak management plans in place to address communicable disease outbreaks such as influenza, measles, mumps, norovirus, and varicella, as well as preparedness procedures to address a variety of medical emergencies and natural disasters. 

Public safety is our top priority, as is the health of our community. CDCR and CCHCS have worked diligently to make unprecedented changes to its operations to address the COVID-19 emergency and to protect all those who live and work in our institutions. We have successfully implemented an expedited transition to parole of 3,500 inmates to increase space within our institutions statewide. We continue to take additional precautions and actions as well, including suspending intake from county jails, reducing the density in dorms, verbal and temperature screening of all those entering state prisons, providing masks and hand sanitizer to all staff and the incarcerated population, and suspending in-person visiting and volunteering.

Health care guidance: CDCR/CCHCS have protocols in place that follow recommendations for COVID-19 response in a correctional setting set forth by the California Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Please see the Interim Guidance for Health Care and Public Health Providers for detailed protocols.

Population Communications: To keep members of our population informed, we have created and distributed fact sheets and posters in both English and Spanish that provide education on COVID-19 and precautions recommended by CDC. We have also begun streaming CDC educational videos, messages from CDCR/CCHCS Leadership and content from external stakeholders on the CDCR Division of Rehabilitative Programs inmate television network Health & Wellness channel. Learn more about population communications.  

Staff Communications: We have worked continuously to keep staff informed of the evolving situation, including creating internal and external webpages with health-related information from CDC and California Department of Public Health on how they can protect themselves against COVID-19. We have also provided staff with California Department of Human Resources (CalHR) updates on personnel and work-related questions specific to the COVID-19 issue.

For more detailed response information, please see COVID-19 Response Efforts page.