San Quentin Guard Dies From COVID-19

Sgt. Polanco was the first San Quentin guard to die from COVID-19.
Photo credit CDCR

A guard at San Quentin State Prison died Sunday from complications related to COVID-19.

Sgt. Polanco was put in a medically-induced coma last month, as his condition worsened due to COVID-19.

“Our hearts are broken as we awaken to the news of the passing of our beloved Sergeant, colleague, and friend,” said Acting San Quentin Warden Ron Broomfield in a statement. “Sgt. Gilbert Polanco demonstrated unwavering commitment and bravery as a peace officer working the frontline every day during this devastating pandemic. His memory is carried on in the hearts of all the men and women who continue to battle this deadly virus at San Quentin."

State Assemblyman Marc Levine told KCBS Radio that the death of Sgt. Polanco is the eighth death of a CDCR staff member related to the coronavirus.

"It would be nice to go back in time and reverse the transfer of inmates that brought COVID to San Quentin," Assemblyman Levine said. "We can't do that."

The outbreak at San Quentin has been linked to the transfer of inmates to the facility from a state prison in Chino.

Assemblyman Levine said that he hopes the CDCR will step up and take accountability. 

The latest numbers from the state show that more than 2,000 San Quentin prisoners have been infected by COVID-19, and 25 have died from complications related to the virus. 

Condemned inmate Pedro Arias, 58, died Sunday from what appears to be complications related to COVID-19, according to CDCR officials.

"It's a very high number," Assemblyman Levine said. "It is a really alarming and awful way to test heard immunity, that by chance or by accident or by design, the Department of Corrections endued up having to do. We need to do everything we can to protect the health and life of everyone at San Quentin."