The acting warden of Chuckawalla Valley State Prison in Blythe was appointed to the position on a permanent basis Wednesday by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

David F. Holbrook III, 50, of Blythe has been acting warden since last year. He was the chief deputy warden of the institution for a year before that, according to a news release from the governor’s office.

As acting warden, Holbrook oversaw the worst coronavirus outbreak of any state penal institution to that point. However, the virus has leveled off since the outbreak in June.

Four inmates at the eastern Riverside County prison have died due to coronavirus complications and 1,397 inmates have tested positive since the start of the pandemic, according to data from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

In comparison, 28 inmates have died due to virus-related complications at San Quentin State Prison, and 2,938 inmates have tested positive at Avenal State Prison.

Holbrook’s career in the state prison system began in 1995 at the California Correctional Center in Susanville, where he was a medical technical assistant until 2000.

From 2000 to 2014, he worked his first stint at Chuckawalla, where he held several positions including correctional captain and correctional counselor, before departing to the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility in San Diego County to be a correctional administrator for two years

Holbrook then transferred to the California Institution for Men at Chino in 2016, where he was chief deputy warden for two years before returning to Chuckawalla in 2018.

Holbrook, a registered Democrat, will be paid $162,024 annually. The position does not require Senate confirmation.

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