California Correctional Center in Susanville, CA - photo: CDCR

Updated July 10 at 14:00 a.m. PDT –

On June 21, the California Correctional Center [CCC] in Susanville reported four positive cases of COVID-19. The CCC staff immediately implemented a modified program in an effort to reduce the spread of infection and began tracing efforts.

According to California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation [CDCR] records, 213 positive COVID-19 cases have been identified to date with 13 new cases reported over the past 2 weeks.

Officials describe the number of cases as fluid.

In consultation with Lassen County Public Health officials, CCC tested all inmates housed at the institution. The testing was complete as of June 24.

According to CDCR spokesperson Terri Hardy, facilities are being deep cleaned, personal protective equipment (PPE) has been provided, and CCC health care staff are making multiple rounds daily to immediately identify anyone with symptoms and address health care needs.

Licensed nursing staff conduct inmate testing in each of the respective housing units to limit population movement around the prison.

CCC Susanville is a Hub for Inmates with COVID-19

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation operates 43 year-round conservation camps in cooperation with the California Department of Forestry, Fire Protection (CAL FIRE),  and the Los Angeles County Fire Department (LAC FIRE). All camps are minimum-security facilities.

CDCR has five “camp hubs.” Two CDCR prisons are primarily responsible for the training and placement of male inmates in the Conservation Camp Program: Sierra Conservation Center serving the south, and California Correctional Center serving the north.

Plans are in place to transfer inmates from California conservation camps with positive cases of COVID-19 to CCC Susanville for proper medical care. As of today, no conservation camp inmates have been transferred to CCC.

The California Institution for Women is responsible for training and placement of women firefighters. In addition, both the California Rehabilitation Center and the California Men’s Colony provide firefighters to an associated camp. CAL FIRE completes all firefighter training.

The conservation camps’ primary mission is to support state, local and federal government agencies as they respond to all types of emergencies such as fires, floods, and other natural or manmade disasters.

In addition to firefighters, camp participants can work as support and maintenance staff such as cooks, laundry workers, landscapers and water treatment operators.

CCC Susanville

The California Correctional Center in Susanville, California is designed to house 3,883 inmates and currently houses 3,828.

According to a CDCR spokesperson, CCC is following isolation and quarantine protocols in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance to address COVID-19 in correctional settings.

Lassen County Public Health provides testing for all staff on a voluntary basis, which will continue through the week of June 29. As of today, one staff member has been diagnosed with COVID-19.

As part of a modified program, the population at CCC Susanville have access to showers while practicing physical distancing. Shower schedules are in place to ensure deep cleaning and disinfection is conducted between each use.

Inmates are being fed separately in Level I and II facilities. Tables are being disinfected between use.

The level designations correspond to the severity of the crime committed.

Level III is the most serious; those inmates are being fed in their cells.

All Inmates housed on Level I and II are being fed in their assigned housing units.

Health Care providers are delivering medication and monitoring all inmates housed in all quarantined cells and dorms.

Inmates not housed in quarantined dorms/cells will continue to receive canteen packages and access to telephones. Telephones are being disinfected between each use.

CCC Susanville administrators continue to keep the Inmate Family Council and Inmate Advisory Committee and staff apprised of information regarding positive cases and efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Inmates are receiving two hot meals and a sack lunch daily, which, according to a CDCR spokesperson meets dietary guidelines. According to a CDCR spokesperson, all kitchen workers wear appropriate PPE, including masks and gloves and practice proper hand hygiene and physical distancing.

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and California Corrections Health Services have established a PPE workgroup to monitor and assess institutions to ensure staff have an adequate supply of PPE to immediately address COVID-19 and to protect staff and inmates. The workgroup will continue to collaborate and maintain open lines of communication with the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services to identify any deficiencies and ensure adequate supplies are available at each institution on an ongoing basis.

Since the the arrival of COVID-19, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has identified over 4,000 positive COVID-19 cases among its overall inmate population.

As of this morning, CDCR reports 2,000 active cases of the virus, system-wide. Over the past two weeks, nearly 1,000 new cases have been diagnosed. Twenty CDCR prisoners have died from COVID-19 as of this writing.

Brian Bahouth has been a public media journalist since 1996. He is founding editor of the Sierra Nevada Ally. Support his work here.