Timeline: San Quentin overtakes Ohio prison for most coronavirus cases in U.S.

It started with a disastrous prison transfer that seeded what is now the largest coronavirus outbreak during the pandemic in the U.S.: 2,469 positive cases since May 31. Twenty-one deaths.

On Tuesday, San Quentin State Prison overtook the Marion Correctional Institution in Marion, Ohio, for the most coronavirus cases in a single outbreak.

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration has been scrambling to contain the outbreak at the notorious, 168-year-old prison that houses California’s Death Row since a disastrous decision to transfer 121 aging, infirm inmates from an earlier outbreak at a prison in Southern California.

San Quentin topped more than 2,200 cases for inmates on Tuesday, and 260 staff members have tested positive for the virus, including Sgt. Gilbert Polanco, a veteran corrections officer who was fighting for his life in a hospital in his hometown of San Jose. The worst of the outbreak appears to be over, with infections among current prisoners down to 168 Tuesday from a peak of more than 1,600 in early July.

Overall, more than 8,300 inmates and 1,800 staff members in California’s prison system have been infected with the COVID-19 virus. A total of 49 inmates and six staff members have died.

A survey by the New York Times reveals the 12 largest coronavirus outbreaks in the country are all jails or prisons, including Avenal State Prison in the Central Valley (fifth most with 1,407 cases), Los Angeles’s North County Jail (seventh, 1,380 cases) and the California Institution for Men in Chino, which transferred infected inmates to San Quentin (10th, 1,072 cases).

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Author: Bay Area News Group