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Nearly 800 inmates test positive for COVID-19 in California federal prison

There are almost 800 positive cases of coronavirus at the Federal Correctional Institution Lompoc in California as of this week, according to the Los Angeles Times. 

The news marks an increase of over 300 cases in recent days. The increase also means that 70 percent of the prison's population has been infected, according to the news outlet.

The California prison now accounts for 47 percent of confirmed coronavirus cases in the federal prison system, according to information from the Bureau of Prisons obtained by the Times. 

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Eleven of the cases are among staff at the prison, which houses 1,162 low-security inmates.

A make-shift military hospital has reportedly been set up to treat the prisoners. Henning Ansorg, the Santa Barbara County public health officer, told the Times most cases in the prison are asymptomatic. 

At a neighboring prison for medium-security inmates on the same grounds, 31 inmates and 14 staff have become infected. Combined, the two federal prisons have had 823 infected inmates, the prison bureau told the Times. Two  inmates have died from the virus.

Santa Barbara County has reported 1,032 cases, of which 80 percent are in the two federal prisons.

Santa Barbara County Supervisor Gregg Hart told the Times local officials have unsuccessfully tried to address the situation. 

“We have been consistently rebuffed by prison authorities,” he said.