San Quentin prison guard first employee to die in COVID-19 outbreak

Death toll among inmates rises to 25

San Quentin State Prison Sgt. Gilbert Polanco is the first employee to die in a COVID-19 outbreak in the Marin County facility. (Courtesy CDCR)

San Quentin State Prison Sgt. Gilbert Polanco is the first employee to die in a COVID-19 outbreak in the Marin County facility. (Courtesy CDCR)

The death toll from a COVID-19 outbreak at San Quentin State Prison continues to mount.

Sgt. Gilbert Polanco, a 55-year-old San Quentin State Prison guard, died Sunday morning, the first employee casualty at the Marin County facility, according to the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

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.”

Condemned inmate Pedro Arias, 58, also died Sunday at an outside hospital from what appeared to be complications related to the coronavirus, becoming the 25th inmate to die at San Quentin in the outbreak.

Arias was sentenced to death in Sacramento County in 1990 for first-degree murder and second-degree roberry while armed wth a firearm, as well as life without parole for kidnapping for ransom/extortion, penetration with a foreign object, attempted sodomy, lewd and lascivious acts on a child under 14, sodomy of a child under 14, two counts of forcible rape, second-degree robbery and enhancements for use of a firearm.

There are currently 714 people on California’s death row, according to state officials. California Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a moratorium on executions in March of 2019.

Bay City News contributed to this report.

Bay Area NewsCoronavirusCrime

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

A health care worker receives the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. (Go Nakamura/Getty Images/TNS)
City sets ambitious goal to vaccinate residents by June

Limited supply slows distribution of doses as health officials seek to expand access

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden and Jill Biden arrive at Biden's inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2021, in Washington, DC.  (Win McNamee/Getty Images/TNS)
Joe Biden issues call for ‘unity’ amidst extreme partisan rancor

‘I will be a president for all Americans,’ he says in inauguration speech

MARIETTA, GA - NOVEMBER 15: Democratic U.S. Senate candidates Jon Ossoff (R) and Raphael Warnock (L) of Georgia taps elbows during a rally for supporters on November 15, 2020 in Marietta, Georgia. Both become senators Wednesday.  (Jenny Jarvie/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
Vice President Harris swears in senators Padilla, Warnock, Ossoff

New Democratic senators tip balance of power in upper legislative house

President Joe Biden plans to sign a number of executive orders over the next week. (Biden Transition/CNP/Zuma Press/TNS)
Biden signals new direction by signing mask order on his first day in office

President plans ambitious 10-day push of executive orders, legislation

Kamala Harris is sworn in as vice president by U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor as her husband Doug Emhoff looks on at the inauguration of U.S. President Joe Biden on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 20, 2021, in Washington, D.C. (Alex Wong/Getty Images/TNS)
A new turn in history: Kamala Harris sworn in as 49th vice president

Noah Bierman and Melanie Mason Los Angeles Times Kamala Devi Harris, born… Continue reading

Most Read