SUSANVILLE, Calif. - After inmates were transferred from San Quentin to the California Correctional Center in Lassen County, coronavirus cases spiked.
Prisons throughout the state are seeing a surge in coronavirus cases -- and two of those facilities are here at home.
The Lassen County Health Officer declared a local health emergency due to the prison outbreak.
According to the declaration, in early June, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation transferred inmates from the San Quentin State Prison to the 'CCC' in Lassen County without testing or quarantining the inmates.
Days later four of those inmates tested positive for the coronavirus.
The 'CCC' houses more than 3,000 inmates, as of Thursday there are 213 active cases at the 'CCC' and five at the High Desert State Prison in Susanville.
Now prison officials are working tirelessly to protect staff and implement safe practices for inmates within the prison.
Action News Now spoke with a woman who's cousin is a prison guard, "They are making sure that they sanitize through every door they are making sure they sanitize through every door every aspect they go through in that prison anything that they touch they sanitize their hands they have to go through a protocol for the COVID-19 so they're doing their jobs and to make sure everyone’s safe as much as possible," said Margie Bark.
Both institutions have made programming adjustments including staggered dining, phone calls, and showers to allow for physical distancing and proper disinfecting between each use.
Sanitation and hygiene practices are in place, as well as providing masks for all inmates and staff to wear under strict guidelines on prison grounds.
A prison official told Action News Now they reduced two inmates to a cell and created space for social distancing in the dorms.
One guard at the 'CCC' and five employees at the High Desert State Prison have tested positive for the coronavirus.
Just miles down the road lies downtown Susanville, a population over 15,000.
One of the many shops here, Uptown Uniforms.
"It’s just a bummer that you know we're in this situation where they might have to close down I don’t- I hope it doesn’t come to that, it would definitely impact our business," said Nicole Martinez, store manager.
The nearby prison keeps Nicole's shop running. She provides uniforms for first responders and correction officers.
She said the spike in cases does not surprise her.
"It was bound to happen eventually in a prison system as large as California is I mean yeah," she said. "I feel like everyone who comes in is contentious of their health and if they’re not feeling good and everyone here so far seems healthy it seems like
Prison officials tell me they're testing all staff on a voluntary basis. Temperatures are being checked and sanitation and hygiene practices are in place. not to mention mandatory masks for all inmates and staff.
"If I did contract COVID yeah we would have to shut down the store and I’d be quarantined for 14 days I don’t foresee that situation really coming up at least, I hope it doesn’t," said Nicole.
Martinez said she trusts that prison officials are monitoring their staff and internal situation.
Uptown Uniforms is an essential business, so Martinez does not foresee any financial impacts besides budget cuts.
"That’s probably going to be the biggest impact to our business, hopefully, COVID doesn’t shut us down," she said.