Santa Rita is facing a COVID-19 outbreak — we’re committed to keeping everyone safe

NewsApril 9, 2020

As of Thursday, 12 inmates have tested positive, and 14 additional inmates are displaying symptoms consistent with COVID-19.

The Sheriff’s Office and Wellpath are providing us with N95 masks, for now, but more must be done to prevent a full-scale crisis!

That’s why our NUHW Stewards addressed the Alameda County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, and spelled out what needs to happen to protect us and everybody inside the jail.

  1. Immediate COVID-19 testing for all health care staff.
  2. Increased measures to further reduce the inmate population.
  3. Increased availability of face coverings for inmates.
  4. Improved social distancing measures throughout the jail, including the Pill Room, Medical Records Office and Officers Dining Room. 

The County Supervisors control the budget for the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, and Supervisor Richard Valle made clear to our members that he would take our concerns directly to Sheriff Ahern.

The Sheriff’s Office has reduced the inmate population and has been responsive to our demands for adequate PPE. But we all know that viruses can spread very quickly through jails if appropriate safety measures are not fully implemented. 

  1. Over the course of two weeks, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases jumped from 1 to 200 at Rikers Island in New York City. The jail now has an infection rate at least seven times higher than the city.
  2. At Cook County Jail in Illinois, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases jumped from two to 101 in just one week.

We can’t let that happen at Santa Rita. We need to be protected, and we won’t settle for anything less.

If you have any questions or concerns, or face difficulty getting PPE, please reach out to your NUHW Steward or contact NUHW Representative Abid Yahya at 323-420-4896 or

If you have concerns about working conditions at Santa Rita, please report them here: