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Avenal Isn’t The Only Kings County Prison Facing Massive Outbreak – COVID-19 Update For Nov. 20

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

More than 3,300 inmates and staff have tested positive for COVID-19 at Avenal, which is the highest total of any prison in California and possibly in the entire country. So far, the virus has killed eight of the prison’s incarcerated men.

However, Avenal isn’t the only prison in the San Joaquin Valley—or even in Kings County—struggling to contain a massive outbreak. This week’s COVID-19 update highlights the recent surge in cases inside prisons, which parallels a concerning rise in the outside community. We also address the new restrictions the state enforced on businesses in almost every Valley county in the last week.

Meanwhile, here’s a snapshot for Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, and Tulare Counties (note that some numbers may have changed between the interview and publication):

As of Nov. 19:

For comparison, as of Nov. 12:

  • 1,521 deaths out of 113,814 cases
  • 319 people hospitalized and 56 in ICUs
  • In the last week, 17 people succumbed to the disease
  • Average cases reported daily in the last week: 591

You can always find up-to-date information for your county here.

Kerry Klein is an award-winning reporter whose coverage of public health, air pollution, drinking water access and wildfires in the San Joaquin Valley has been featured on NPR, KQED, Science Friday and Kaiser Health News. Her work has earned numerous regional Edward R. Murrow and Golden Mike Awards and has been recognized by the Association of Health Care Journalists and Society of Environmental Journalists. Her podcast Escape From Mammoth Pool was named a podcast “listeners couldn’t get enough of in 2021” by the radio aggregator NPR One.
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