SAN LUIS OBISPO — California Men’s Colony is dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak — 43 inmates have tested positive in the past 14 days, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

A total of 54 inmates have tested positive, the first coming back in April. Eleven of the cases have been resolved. California Men’s Colony is a male-only state prison located northwest of the City of San Luis Obispo. It has a total population of 3,469 inmates.

“Over the past few days, California Men’s Colony (CMC) has seen an increase in the number of incarcerated people testing positive for COVID-19,” said Lt. John Hill, CMC public information officer. “Out of an abundance of caution, CMC has restricted all inmate movement and implemented a modified program in the entire institution to facilitate expanded testing of the incarcerated population.” 

According to the CDC website, a total of 10 CMC staff members have tested positive for COVID-19. It was not clear when they tested positive. Three of the staffers have returned to work.


CMC is working with San Luis Obispo County public health officials on testing and partnering to conduct contact investigations, Hill added. The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) has also secured a vendor for ongoing mandatory staff testing statewide to help reduce the burden on county resources.

In the past 14 days, 9 percent of CMC’s incarcerated population (309) has been tested for COVID-19. 

Like all CDCR institutions, CMC has implemented several measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, Hill said. 

CMC is following all guidelines from CDCR, California Correctional Health Care Services and the Centers for Disease Control for cleaning and sanitizing as well as isolation and quarantine protocols.

“All housing and common areas are sanitized multiple times a day and showers are cleaned after each use,” Hill said. 

Officials provided cleaning supplies to allow the incarcerated population to keep their living areas clean. Hand sanitizer dispensers are placed throughout the institution for staff and inmate use.

Everyone who lives and works at CMC has been issued cloth barrier masks; wearing them is mandatory. Any person entering the prison undergoes temperature and verbal screening for symptoms daily.

CMC is strictly enforcing physical distancing guidelines as approved by the court-appointed Federal Receiver. Programs have been modified to allow for phased use of dayrooms and dining schedules are staggered with areas cleaned after each use.

See the Patient Tracker for the numbers of confirmed COVID cases among the incarcerated population. Information about employee cases can be found here.

CDCR’s weekly population reports are published online. The second page has a breakdown of the incarcerated population by institution.