Last week, advocates hosted a virtual press conference to discuss what they say is a growing outbreak of COVID-19 in Alameda County's Santa Rita Jail in the wake of an alarming spike in cases at the facility in late December.
Legal advocates and family members with loved ones detained inside have specifically highlighted poor food quality and sanitation issues as COVID-19 risk factors for those incarcerated.
"Namira," who wished to remain anonymous for fear of retribution against her or her husband who is incarcerated at Santa Rita Jail, told KQED that conditions are jam-packed. “I’d say that there are shelters for animals that are way cleaner and better,” she said.
“As soon as he entered Santa Rita Jail, he started feeling sick. Initially, I said no, it’s just the environment,” Namira said.
But then, on the phone, she heard her spouse coughing. After talking to him, she called the main Santa Rita Jail number asking for medical attention. They told her to wait until the next morning, but she called again after a few hours.