Lancaster prison only state facility where multiple inmates test positive for coronavirus

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A state prison in Lancaster remains the only state corrections facility across California where more than one inmate has tested positive for coronavirus.

Three state prisoners, including two at California State Prison-Los Angeles County in Lancaster, have tested positive, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

A total of 205 inmates have been tested as of Sunday afternoon. Those numbers only refer to state prisoners and not inmates at county jails and other local facilities.

Earlier this month, an inmate at the Lancaster facility became the first state prisoner known to have contracted the rapidly spreading virus. At the time, prison officials described him as being in stable condition, and he was being treated on-site.

He had undergone testing on March 20 and received the results two days later, authorities said. State prison officials reported another inmate at the Lancaster prison was infected with the virus on Sunday.

The third state prisoner known to be infected is an inmate at the California Institution for Men in Chino, officials said. A total of 17 employees in the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation also tested positive, according to figures from state officials.

Meanwhile, a county jail inmate and two deputies in Riverside County and another inmate jailed in Orange County also tested positive in recent days.

The state governor last week opened the door to releasing nonviolent offenders from overcrowded jails to try preventing spread of the virus among inmates and staff.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff has released at least 1,700 inmates from the county’s jail population. None of the inmates there are known to have tested positive.

Advocacy groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union have called for the release of some inmates and migrants in detention to lower health risks amid the ongoing pandemic.

State prison officials said new measures are being taken to prevent spread of the virus, from installing additional hand sanitizer stations at dining halls and housing units to more deep-cleaning of medical facilities and high-traffic areas like visiting rooms.

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