SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — The second-worst coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. is right in San Francisco’s backyard. Infectious disease physician Peter Chin Hong describes the situation happening inside San Quentin State Prison as a “volcano erupting in our neighborhood.”
Even though patients are behind prison walls, the virus can still spread into Bay Area communities through corrections officers, nurses, and others who come and go from the facility, healthcare professionals warn.
More than 700 healthcare workers, including many who are based at the University of California San Francisco, signed an open letter and petition to Gov. Gavin Newsom and the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation this week urging for more inmates to be released. Lowering the inmate population to below 50 percent of capacity is the most effective way to make conditions possible for slowing the virus’ spread, they said.
San Quentin has 500 active cases. Not long ago, it had 0. That was changed by a disastrous decision made with good intentions, Dr. Chin Hong said. A prison in Chino, Calif. was having an outbreak, so it transferred about 100 of its inmates to San Quentin to relieve overcrowding. Some of those inmates carried the virus with them to Marin County.
Chin Hong said that decision is now an example of exactly “what not to do” during an outbreak like COVID-19.
Continued at Source: KRON4