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Prison Protest

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OUTBREAK  There are currently over 500 active Covid-19 cases at San Quentin State Prison. - TIM RODENBERG/FLICKR
  • Tim Rodenberg/Flickr
  • OUTBREAK There are currently over 500 active Covid-19 cases at San Quentin State Prison.

Outraged by the rapidly growing number of Covid-19 cases in San Quentin State Prison, 14 protesters chained themselves to a driveway gate in front of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s home in suburban Sacramento on Monday, July 28.

Gov. Newsom, who lived in Marin County before his election as governor, has failed to manage the Covid-19 outbreak in the state prison system properly, the organizers of the protest, the California Liberation Collective, argued in a statement to the Associated Press.

By Tuesday, July 28, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation reported 7,704 total Covid-19 cases throughout the state prison system. There are 1,753 active cases and 47 deaths across the system, including 528 active cases and 19 deaths at San Quentin alone.

The group also called on Newsom to stop all coordination with the federal immigration agency, ICE.

“(Newsom) criticizes Trump when convenient, but ... turns incarcerated Californians who are eligible for release over to ICE instead of their loved ones,” the group told the Associated Press in a statement.

The Associated Press reported that Highway Patrol officers cut the chained protesters off of the fence as dozens more protesters stood nearby in support. It was not immediately clear how many people were arrested.

Contact Corps

Marin County Public Health and Dominican University announced a new partnership on Tuesday, July 28, which promises to give students important experience helping public officials track—and ultimately restrict—the spread of Covid-19.

During the coming fall semester, the university will offer up to 20 students spots in the one-unit course. Students will complete an online training course and then work with public health officials to track the spread of the virus.

“(Contact tracing) is a century-old public health strategy for communicable disease control,” Dr. Patti Culross, director of the university’s Global Public Health program, said in a statement about the partnership. 

The county is funding the course in the hopes that participants will be able to bolster the number of local contact tracers. Currently, about half of the county’s contact tracers are volunteers, according to a statement from the county.

“Although that inspirational spirit is needed to help limit the virus’ spread and tremendously appreciated during the crisis, it will take more than volunteers to effectively handle the demand in the coming weeks and months,” the county statement says.

“We want to be prepared for the ebbs and flows of volunteers as we move forward in this pandemic,” Deputy Public Health Officer Dr. Lisa Santora said of the program. “And we also know that as the school year starts there will be more social activity and possibly an increased number of cases in our county. Having that workforce development opportunity with the university will have us better prepared as we see the increases in cases, which we do expect to see.”

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