Hello, I’m Ralph Diaz, Secretary for the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. This is the second update that I’m going to provide you of where we are with this effort to fight COVID-19. And every one of you watching this video are providing an essential service to the state of California and to CDCR.
As of this filming (April 7, 2020), we have 55 staff members throughout the state who have tested positive. I want to say thank you. I want to say thank you to all of you who continue to come in and provide an essential service. You’re providing services to a population that are going back home.
Right now, underway, we are preparing to release 3,500 inmates back to our communities. That’s already begun. And we want to send them out healthier than when they came in. We want to send them out without infection. Because all that does is affect our communities, your communities. And when we do this in the right way, we have done our job as corrections professionals.
I want to thank the health care teams that are out at every institution. I want to thank the custody teams that are going out and still providing the essential service to transport back and forth from these hospitals. To the food service that’s out there. To the warehouse staff. To anybody who walks in these institutions at this time, you are providing a service to California and I appreciate you.
I want to let you know that we do have communication with the Governor’s Office and they are also just as appreciative. The governor himself has thanked Corrections for the work that you’re doing.
I do want to say that we don’t see an end to this any time soon. So I need you to brace yourselves. I need you to prepare to be mentally equipped to know that we may be in this for a month, to two months, even longer. As I said in my first video, I’m preparing four, five months out.
Hopefully that doesn’t come. Hopefully we’ll be ending this soon and we’ll be able to get back to some normalcy. But I will say that I doubt we’ll be the same department of corrections post-COVID. We’re learning a lot of things on how to do business, but I think the things we are learning are for the better. And what I think and what I know is that we have the best corrections professionals in the nation. The best corrections professionals that dedicate their time and their lives and their service to the state of California.
Stay motivated, wash your hands, follow the protocols. If you sneeze and cough, cover yourself. If you feel sick, stay home. I need to say that again. If you feel sick, stay home. You’re doing nobody any good.
I appreciate you. The leadership of Corrections appreciates you. And I also want to say take care. Take care of yourself, your neighbors, your family, your children and your fellow Californians.
Until we see each other again, take care and God bless.