MARIN COUNTY, CA — A 55-year-old San Quentin State Prison guard has become the first employee at that facility to die amid a COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak at the prison, state officials said.
Sgt. Gilbert Polanco died Sunday morning, the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said Sunday in a statement. Polanco had been in a San Jose hospital for more than a month.
"Sgt. Gilbert Polanco is an example of the best of CDCR and his passing deeply saddens us all. His dedication to public service will not be forgotten," CDCR Secretary Ralph Diaz said Sunday in a statement.
Added acting San Quentin Warden Ron Broomfield, "Our hearts are broken as we awaken to the news of the passing of our beloved Sergeant, colleague, and friend. Sgt. Gilbert Polanco demonstrated unwavering commitment and bravery as a peace officer working the frontline every day during this devastating pandemic."
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As of Friday, 2,226 San Quentin inmates had tested positive for COVID-19. Polanco's death was the first employee there to die; later Sunday, CDCR officials said that 58-year-old Pedro Arias, on San Quentin's death row since 1990, died Sunday at an outside hospital from what appears to be complications related to the COVID-19 coronavirus. He was the 24th San Quentin prisoner to die from the coronavirus.
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