A sixth inmate at the California Institution for Men in Chino died Monday from complications from coronavirus, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

The identity and age of the inmate was not released, but prison officials said the man died at an outside hospital.

California Institution for Men, located at 14901 Central Ave., has had 612 inmates test positive for coronavirus since the pandemic began in March. Of those, 138 inmates have recovered, according to state prison numbers.

Fifty-eight employees at the prison have also tested positive. A total of 36 have recovered and returned to work.

At the nearby California Institution for Women, 117 inmates have tested positive for coronavirus and one has reportedly recovered. 

State prison spokeswoman Dana Simas said Tuesday that the California Department of Corrections has begun surveillance testing at all of its adult prisons.

“Surveillance testing is used to detect outbreaks in an early phase, even before the development of symptoms,” Ms. Simas said. “Early detection and rapid outbreak response can limit the spread of infection and prevent morbidity and mortality.”

She said with sufficient numbers of selected patients testing negative, a prison can “demonstrate with confidence the absence of an outbreak.”

“This voluntary testing will be performed across multiple facilities at each institution each month,” Mrs. Simas said.

Inmates who are asymptomatic, but vulnerable to complications from coronavirus, will be given priority, the spokeswoman said.

State prisons will resume transferring inmates from its Reception Centers to facilities, except for the Reception Center at the California Institution for Men. 

“These transfers will take place over the next several weeks,” Ms. Simas said. “All incarcerated people endorsed for transfer will be tested for COVID-19 before transportation. Those who test positive will not be transferred.” Seven prisons currently house inmates testing positive for coronavirus: California Institution for Men (459), California Institution for Women (116), Chuckawalla Valley State Prison (52), Avenal State Prison (48), California State Prison-Lancaster (32), California Men's Colony (4) and Centinela State Prison (1), as of Friday morning.

In addition to the 138 recovered inmates at the California Institution for Men and one at California Institution for Women, 94 inmates have recovered at the Lancaster facility, two at CMC and one each at North Kern State Prison and the Substance Abuse Treatment Facility.

Testing numbers

Nearly 3,200 inmates at California Institution for Men and 452 inmates at the California Institution for Women have been tested for COVID-19, state numbers show.

A total of 7,790 inmates in the state have been tested, which is a rate of 67.7 inmates per 1,000. In California, 27 people per 1,000 have been test. In the U.S., 30.4 people per 1,000 have received a test.

Protest planned

Two groups — the California Coalition for Women’s Prisoners and the Families United to End LWOP (Life Without Parole) — will hold a car caravan protest today (May 23) for incarcerated inmates at the California Institution for Men and California Institution for Women, starting at 11:30 a.m. at Ayala Park in Chino where the groups will meet in the parking lot off Central Avenue. 

The caravan will leave Ayala Park at noon and head to the California Institution for Men to protest. 

At 12:45 p.m., the caravan will head to the California Institution for Women, located at 16756 Chino Corona Road, where they plan to protest until 1:30 p.m.

The groups are demanding life-saving prevention for inmates at the two Chino prisons, including the release of inmates because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Protesters are asked to wear face masks and practice social distancing.

Information: California Coalition for Women Prisoners Facebook page.

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