The California Correctional Institution's sign at the front of the prison.

Cases of COVID-19 among inmates of the the California Correctional Institution, a state prison in Tehachapi, rose nearly 400 percent in the past five weeks, from 134 cases in early July to 632 as of Wednesday. The facility, with a population of about 3,600, ranks as one of the largest state prison outbreaks in California, though all but 85 of those cases have now recovered.

In the entire Tehachapi area ZIP code, there are 729 total cases, according to Kern County data, meaning just under 100 COVID-19 were among the 34,000 residents of the city and its surrounding communities and not prison inmates. 

Prison staff have also been impacted: 146 were infected with the virus as of Wednesday and one staffer had died, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation's COVID-19 data. 

Wasco State Prison, with an inmate population of 4,300, saw a similar rate of increase, with inmate cases jumping more than 400 percent in five weeks, from 33 on July 7 to 169 on Wednesday. 

Meanwhile North Kern State Prison has reported 101 cases and one death among its staff but just 10 cases among inmates.

No local inmates have died from the virus. 

Kern Valley State Prison reported five cases among inmates and 62 among staff and the California City Correctional Facility had one inmate and 12 staffers test positive.

Statewide, about 9,000 inmates have tested positive for the virus and 53 have died. In order to alleviate crowding during COVID-19, the state is releasing thousands of inmates early.

CDCR said in late July that 180 inmates whose releases are being expedited will reside in Kern County upon their release by the end of August.

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