San Quentin's rising COVID-19 numbers could have major impact on Marin County, officials say

MARIN COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- Coronavirus cases are surging at San Quentin State Prison and there is now major concern for residents of Marin County, where the prison is located.

Hospitals have filled to the point where they can't handle many more people.

RELATED: San Quentin State Prison inmate describes dire conditions inside prison as COVID-19 cases skyrocket
"I don't think there is any room currently but with pending discharges there might be room again," says Marin County Health Officer Dr. Matt Willis.

He's referring to hospitals in the county that are dealing with not only the community uptick in COVID-19 cases, but also San Quentin State Prison's huge rise in cases, "We're really operating at that point where you have to wait for someone else to go before you can bring someone else in."

At San Quentin more than 1,100 inmates are COVID-19 positive. More than 100 staffers and guards have tested positive as well - a group that goes from being inside the prison to out in the community.

RELATED: Marin health official expects COVID-19 outbreak at San Quentin Prison to double in next 10 days

"It's just a little bit concerning because we don't know how quickly this will spread in a second wave," said a man who lives in Marin County.

Tuesday we talked by phone with death row inmate Anthony Jones, who says things don't appear to be getting better.

"Every day there is at least three to five people that goes man down that has to be taken to the hospital to get their vitals checked because they can't breathe or whatever the case may be," he said.

While the outlook doesn't currently look promising, county supervisors have written to Governor Gavin Newsom for help.

Supervisor Judy Arnold is optimistic, but keeping a close eye on the situation.

RELATED: 'Many errors that led to this crisis': Officials say they warned of San Quentin Prison's COVID-19 outbreak

"We want to get this under control like we did before the worry is hospitalization," she said.

Marin County officials would like to see the situation taken care of at the prison facility.

The death row inmate you heard from there, who has COVID-19, told us on the phone Tuesday that medicine isn't even being given to those who need it at the prison.

They are instead rushed to the hospital when their conditions get really bad.

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