Wednesday, October 20, 1999


Sacramento – The California Department of Corrections (CDC) announced today that staff and inmates at the Northern California Women's Facility (NCWF) in Stockton will be tested for tuberculosis following yesterday's discovery of one possible tuberculosis case.

"This is not a confirmed case of tuberculosis," said Dr. Susann Steinberg, Deputy Director of CDC's Health Care Services Division. "However, as a precaution, we will begin testing staff and inmates, restricting inmate movement, and proceeding with our established protocols in responding to this situation. We do not wait for a confirmed diagnosis before taking vigorous action to protect the health and safety of staff, inmates and the community."

On October 19, one inmate was transferred from NCWF to an approved correctional medical isolation unit for further testing related to possible tuberculosis.

Beginning today, October 20, inmates and staff will be tested for exposure to tuberculosis. NCWF also is:

  • Limiting inmate movement,
  • Suspending visiting today until further notice,
  • Notifying all staff and inmates about the tuberculosis testing process,
  • Performing a contact investigation to identify staff and inmates who may have had close contact with the suspected inmate, and
  • Not receiving any new inmates.
Steinberg said that correctional settings are considered high-risk environments for transmission of tuberculosis infection and disease. "Inmates often have had little or no health care prior to their incarceration. Many have compromised immune systems or suffer from chronic illnesses such as hepatitis or AIDS. CDC is very committed to preventing and controlling tuberculosis infection and disease," she said.

All employees of CDC and all inmates are tested annually for tuberculosis. All new employees, whether they will work in a correctional facility or not, are tested prior to their employment with the Department and are re-tested annually. All incoming inmates also are tested upon arrival to a CDC institution. CDC currently employs 45,726 people and houses 162,040 inmates.

Visiting operations may continue to be impacted. Those with questions about visiting NCWF can call 209-943-1600.

NCWF is a medium security prison located in Stockton and serves as a reception center for female parole violators returned to custody from Northern California counties. The prison opened July 1987, currently houses 700 female inmates, and employs about 260 people.