San Francisco jails had no coronavirus deaths, hospitalizations or outbreaks, sheriff says

On the one-year anniversary of the official COVID-19 lockdown in California, the San Francisco Sheriff and other city leaders said that there had been no coronavirus deaths, hospitalizations or outbreaks at the county jails. 

In addition, Sheriff Paul Miyamoto said that the incarcerated population is now getting vaccinated. To date, 418 people have received a COVID-19 vaccination, officials said. 

"Vaccinations stop severe illness and death from COVID-19," Miyamoto said in a statement on Wednesday. "Helping the people in our custody and care get vaccinated keeps them healthy and in turn, prevents the COVID-19 spread among the community." 

He credited the collaboration of his office, Jail Health Services and other "justice partners," in the successful prevention of any deaths and outbreaks.

"This is a demonstration of how the strong collaboration between our city departments, from leadership down to line staff, has helped save lives during this pandemic," Mayor London Breed said in a statement. 

Director of Health Dr. Grant Colfax said it was the decision to intervene early, such as providing masks and limiting jail personnel to essential workers, which paid off in saving lives.

Sheriff's officials said the experience in San Francisco stands in stark contrasts to national trends where state and federal prisons reported 51 percent more deaths from COVID than the mortality rates for those who share common demographics on the outside.

Local Bay Area jails, including in Contra Costa and Alameda counties, have had COVID outbreaks, including the deaths of two employees at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin, which prompted an investigation and state fines.

The California prison system also has suffered botched transfers, massive outbreaks and death. 

Lawsuits filed recently alleged that the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation made many mistakes regarding safety protocol which led to the deaths of some of the 216 people to date.