03 July 2020 :
COVID-19 Infects Nearly 200 on California’s Death Row. Nearly 200 death-row prisoners in California have been infected by a coronavirus outbreak that, news reports say, has “torn through” the nation’s largest death row. Fueled by an influx of infected prisoners during a prison transfer at the end of May 2020, the COVID-19 virus has exploded through San Quentin State Prison. As of June 29, at least 1,000 San Quentin prisoners had been infected, including 196 on death row. More than a quarter of the state’s 725 death-row prisoners have now tested positive for the disease. The outbreak killed Richard Stitely, 71, who was found dead in his cell on June 24 after exhibiting symptoms of the coronavirus. He was the first condemned California prisoner to die of COVID-19. Stitely had refused testing prior to his death, and prison officials would not confirm his cause of death. However, Marin County officials reported on June 29 that Stitely had posthumously tested positive for COVID-19. Eighty-nine San Quentin staff members have also tested positive.