California’s decision to move coronavirus-infected patients from one prison to another allegedly caused a massive outbreak in San Quentin State Prison, which had previously been unaffected by the disease, according to the New York Times.
The story parallels the story of nursing homes in New York, where Gov. Andrew Cuomo required those facilities to accept coronavirus-infected patients — likely exacerbating the virus’s spread among the most vulnerable population.
The coughing and complaints of sickness began as a procession of busloads of prisoners made its way late last month from a Southern California prison to San Quentin, California’s oldest and most widely known prison, perched on a bluff overlooking San Francisco Bay, not far from the Golden Gate Bridge.
The inmates were being moved to San Quentin as part of a plan to halt the spread of the coronavirus by reducing the number of inmates at the California Institution for Men in Chino, where nine inmates had died and nearly 700 had been infected.
At the time, there were no inmates known to have had the virus at San Quentin.
Within days, some of the 121 prisoners from the buses introduced the virus at San Quentin, public health officials say. More than 1,000 of the 3,700 prisoners have since been infected at San Quentin, the foreboding structure surrounded by barbed wire fences and dotted with guard towers that was once famously home to inmates including Charles Manson; Sirhan Sirhan, who assassinated Robert F. Kennedy; and George Jackson, an inmate who wrote “Soledad Brother,” a series of letters from prison.
The inmates were reportedly not tested for coronavirus before being moved into San Quentin.