COVID-19 Preventive Measures in Northern California Jails: Perceived Deficiencies, Barriers, and Unintended Harms.
Frontiers in public health
2022; 10: 854343
Carceral facilities are high-risk settings for COVID-19 transmission. Little is known about the hidden burden of infection or practical barriers to infection control in these settings, especially in jails. There is also limited research on the mental health impacts of the pandemic among people living and working in carceral facilities.Between July 8, 2020 and April 30, 2021, we performed SARS-CoV-2 rapid antibody testing and administered a questionnaire among residents and staff of four Northern California jails. We utilized multivariable logistic regression, adjusting for demographic and carceral characteristics, to analyze factors associated with prior infection, including perceived likelihood of prior infection and access to new masks. We additionally assessed the implementation of, perceptions toward, and impacts of COVID-19 policies in practice. We engaged stakeholder representatives, including incarcerated individuals, to guide study design, procedures, and results interpretation.We enrolled 788 jail residents and 380 jail staff. Nearly half of residents and two-thirds of staff who were antibody-positive had not previously tested positive for COVID-19. Among residents without a prior COVID-19 diagnosis, antibody positivity was significantly associated with perceived likelihood of prior infection (adjusted OR = 8.9; 95% CI, 3.6-22.0). Residents who had flu-like illness in jail cited inadequate responses to reported illness and deterrents to symptom reporting, including fears of medical isolation and perceptions of medical neglect. Residents also disclosed deficient access to face masks, which was associated with antibody positivity (adjusted OR = 13.8, 95% CI, 1.8-107.0). Worsened mental health was pervasive among residents, attributed not only to fear of COVID-19 and unsanitary jail conditions but also to intensified isolation and deprivation due to pandemic restrictions on in-person visitation, programs, and recreation time.Carceral settings present significant challenges to maintaining infection control and human rights. Custody officials should work diligently to transform the conditions of medical isolation, which could mitigate deterrents to symptom reporting. Furthermore, they should minimize use of restrictive measures like lockdowns and suspension of visitation that exacerbate the mental health harms of incarceration. Instead, custody officials should ensure comprehensive implementation of other preventive strategies like masking, testing, and vaccination, in conjunction with multisector efforts to advance decarceration.
View details for DOI 10.3389/fpubh.2022.854343
View details for PubMedID 35774562
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC9237366
Factors associated with COVID-19 vaccine acceptance and hesitancy among residents of Northern California jails.
Preventive medicine reports
2022; 27: 101771
Carceral facilities are high-risk settings for COVID-19 transmission. Factors associated with COVID-19 vaccine acceptance and hesitancy among incarcerated individuals are poorly understood, especially among jail residents. Here, we conducted a retrospective review of electronic health record (EHR) data on COVID-19 vaccine uptake in custody and additionally administered a survey to assess reasons for vaccine hesitancy, sources of COVID-19 information, and medical mistrust among residents of four Northern California jails. We performed multivariate logistic regression to determine associations with vaccine acceptance. Of 2,564 jail residents offered a COVID-19 vaccine between March 19, 2021 and June 30, 2021, 1,441 (56.2%) accepted at least one dose. Among vaccinated residents, 497 (34.5%) had initially refused. Vaccine uptake was higher among older individuals, women, those with recent flu vaccination, and those living in shared housing. Among 509 survey respondents, leading reasons for vaccine hesitancy were concerns around side effects and suboptimal efficacy, with cost and the need for an annual booster being other hypothetical deterrents to vaccination. Vaccine hesitancy was also associated with mistrust of medical personnel in and out of jail, although this association varied by race/ethnicity. Television and friends/family were the most common and most trusted sources of COVID-19 information, respectively. Overall, vaccine acceptance was much lower among jail residents than the local and national general population. Interventions to increase vaccination rates in this setting should utilize accessible and trusted sources of information to address concerns about side effects and efficacy, while working to mitigate medical and institutional mistrust among residents.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.pmedr.2022.101771
View details for PubMedID 35309721
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC8920969