Saida Maalin | Contributor
A Riverside County inmate being held on arson and burglary charges in Banning since 2018, died of COVID-19 complications on April 26.
“The inmate’s identification will not be released at this time, pending notification to the family,” said Riverside County Sheriff’s Department (RCSD) in a written press release.
57-year old Salvador Garcia, who passed on April 28, 2020, is the second inmate to die in Riverside County in recent weeks. He passed away after testing positive for COVID-19 in Moreno Valley.
According to RCSD, in separate press releases, both inmates displayed flu-like symptoms. After being closely observed by the facility’s medical staff it was determined that the first inmate’s symptoms had worsened and he was transported to the hospital.
Due to the severity of this virus, some question whether the inmates might have survived had they received proper medical care in a timely manner.
Garcia was taken to a local hospital for medical issues non-related to the virus and later began showing symptoms of the virus.
It wasn’t until nine days later Garcia was alerted he tested positive. The cause of death could take six to eight months to be determined by the Coroner’s office.
At the moment, it is presumed that Garcia died from pre-existing conditions that may have been aggravated by COVID-19.
Jails and prisons are more vulnerable to the virus. It doesn’t just impact the inmates but the officers as well.
Recently, RCSD reported two deputies died from COVID-19 related complications on April 2. The officers may have contracted the virus from inmates or other staff members–it remains to be clarified.
181 deaths have been reported in Riverside County as of Tuesday May 5, with 4,354 confirmed cases according to Riverside County Public Health.
“I can assure you we are working diligently to re-open “non-essential” businesses in Riverside County as soon as possible while protecting the health and safety of our citizens,” said Karen Spiegel, Supervisor of District 2 in a press release.
Currently there are no confirmed cases at the Division of Juvenile Justice according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
RCSD said they are doing what they can to keep inmates and faculty safe. Stay updated regarding COVID-19 precautionary tips and CDC recommendations at cdc.gov .