The highly contagious omicron variant arrived in California prisons and sent infection cases surging across the US.
The Vaccine Mandate for Prison Workers
It was reported that a staggering hike over COVID cases among staff in January and infections increased 212% with more than 3,800 active cases in dozens of state facilities. Biden’s vaccine mandate comes amid debate over federal judges ordering a rule that all prison staff must be vaccinated. Furthermore, it was challenged by the governor and the corrections officer union.
Meanwhile, the challenge over a vaccine mandate for prison workers was roughly imposed by a federal judge that all prison workers must be vaccinated because of the risk they pose to incarcerated people. Gov. Gavin Newsom of California formerly instruct Covid-19 vaccine or testing to all state workers sought to appeal the mandate but in November, the vaccine mandate was temporarily halted.
Moreover, Along with corrections officers, law enforcement across California has pushed back against COVID vaccine mandates. This week a federal judge dismissed the lawsuit because The Los Angeles Police Department union sued the city’s mandate that all employees must be fully vaccinated or have an exception letter approved for medical or religious, saying that the mandate has violated their civil rights.
The Omicron Variant Hits California Prison
The California department of corrections and rehabilitation has already made a move to take any action to protect those who live in, work at, and visit the state prisons. The hospitalizations are low for the inmates, there are 80% fully vaccinated inmates, and for the employees are around 69%. Over the last two weeks, as cases have increased towards the employees with 2,358 active infections cases reported among incarcerated people rose 301% during the holiday.
The visitation for inmates has been suspended at every facility for 15 days to reduce the spread of infections effectively on January 8. The department said in an announcement quoting “CDCR recognizes visiting is an important way to maintain family and community ties. Then, our top priority is the health and safety of the people who live in and work in our facilities.”
It looms around as cases rise all over California due to the new strain. This weekend 300,000 new cases were reported by the state however the Omicron appears to cause less severe illness, particularly among fully vaccinated persons, though it has led to a steep rise in infections that are straining California’s health system.
The inmates have been warned by their Attorney that the unvaccinated prison staff might cause another deadly COVID surge in state facilities, and supposed that workers are lacking to undergo twice-weekly testing as required.