COVID outbreak in Contra Costa County jails tops 100 cases

Sundae McDowell said she contracted COVID while at West County Jail. 

An outbreak of COVID-19 in Contra Costa County's jails has spread to more than 100 people who work or are incarcerated the system, health officials said Monday. 

Contra Costa Health Services has documented 136 positive results from COVID-19 tests among both inmates and staff, including three cases newly identified on Monday. 

No cases identified so far have required hospital care, according to a health department spokesman. 

The spokesman said that all those who are COVID-positive are isolating in designated areas within Martinez Detention Facility and West County Detention Facility in Richmond and receiving "appropriate care."

However, Sundae McDowell, who had been jailed, told KTVU on Monday that was not her experience.

She said she felt awful about two months ago while locked at the West County jail. But despite her complaints, she said she was never told she had coronavirus. She said she was not put into quarantine and that she did not see any of the other inmates wearing masks. She said she had previously gotten the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. 

McDowell bailed out of jail three weeks ago, but says  her symptoms like fatigue and a nagging cough persisted, so she went to the doctor. 

Last week, Stanford Medical Center told her she tested positive for COVID. 

She said that she felt she didn't receive the proper diagnosis or treatment in jail. And she felt that she also shouldn't have been circulating among others in her condition. 

A jail spokesman did not immediately respond for comment.  

The health department said that since December 2020, jail staff have offered voluntary COVID-19 vaccinations to all inmates and staff members. All staff working in county jail facilities are tested for COVID-19 regularly, the spokesman said. 

The Contra Costa County jail COVID outbreak follows a similar one at the Sonoma County jail and mirrors the rising number of cases worldwide because of the delta variant and reluctance among many not to get vaccinated.