1. Marusinec, Rachel MPH
  2. Brodie, Daniel
  3. Buhain, Sonal MSN, RN
  4. Chawla, Colleen MPA
  5. Corpuz, John RN
  6. Diaz, Jennifer BS
  7. Durbin, Michael BSN, RN
  8. Moss, Nicholas MD, MPH
  9. Okada, Reiko MS, RN
  10. Sanchez, Yesenia BA
  11. Watkins-Tartt, Kimi BA
  12. Yette, Emily PhD, MPH
  13. Chitnis, Amit S. MD, MPH


Context: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) incidence rates are 2- to 5-fold higher among persons incarcerated in the United States than in the general population.


Program or Policy: We describe an outbreak investigation of COVID-19 at a jail (jail A) in Alameda County during March 2020-March 2021.


Implementation: To prevent COVID-19 cases among incarcerated persons and employees, staff at jail A and the county public health department worked to develop and recommend infection control measures implemented by jail A including, but not limited to, face covering use among incarcerated persons and staff; cohorting incarcerated persons at a higher risk of severe COVID-19 in dedicated housing units; quarantining all newly detained individuals for 14 days; and offering testing for all symptomatic incarcerated persons, newly incarcerated persons at day 2 and day 10, and all persons who resided in a housing unit where a COVID-19 case was detected.


Evaluation: A total of 571 COVID-19 cases were detected among incarcerated persons at jail A during March 2020-March 2021, which represented a total incidence of 280 per 1000 population, 5 times higher than the rate in Alameda County. Of the 571 cases among incarcerated persons, 557 (98%) were male; 415 (73%) were aged 18 to 40 years; 249 (44%) were Latino; and 180 (32%) were African American; 354 (62%) were not symptomatic; and 220 (39%) had no comorbidities. Less than 2% of infected incarcerated persons were hospitalized, and no deaths were reported.


Discussion: COVID-19 disproportionately impacted persons incarcerated at jail A, with higher numbers among Latinos and African Americans. Implementation of COVID-19 infection control and testing measures, and collaboration between public health, law enforcement, and health care providers may have, in part, led to reductions in morbidity and mortality associated with COVID-19 at jail A.