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Nine months after the novel coronavirus took root in San Diego County jails, cases are continuing to spread, and employees and inmates say they are afraid for their safety.

The Sheriff’s Department is now reporting more than 400 active cases of the coronavirus among its inmates — or 11% of the total jail population. Hundreds of staff members also have been infected.

Some sheriff’s deputies say their commanders are not doing nearly enough to protect them from the virus. Some inmates say conditions inside the jails are fast approaching desperation.

“It’s horrible — horrible,” said one inmate who contacted the San Diego Union-Tribune this week. “We are on 24-hour lockdown. We get out for 15 minutes a day, when we can take a shower or use the phone.”

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