By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Video visitation is being launched at California prisons just in time for the holidays.

California prisons have been closed to in-person visits since mid-March because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation says it had 283 cases COVID-19 last month, its lowest number since April, but those numbers are on the rise as they are in the rest of the state.

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There are currently 1,975 cases of COVID-19 across California’s prison system.

A California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) officer wears a protective mask as he stands guard at the front gate of San Quentin State Prison on June 29, 2020, in San Quentin, Calif. (Getty Images)

Because in-person visitation is still considered too risky, video visitation will begin the weekend of Nov. 28 and 29 at the California Institution for Men, Central California Women’s Facility, and San Quentin, Mule Creek and Valley state prisons.

“Since families cannot connect in-person yet, I want them to be able to connect in real-time, and see and talk to one another remotely until in-person visiting can safely reopen,” CDCR Secretary Kathleen Allison said in a statement.

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Laptops and desktop computers will be set up in prison visiting areas, where physical distancing guidelines will be observed and each station will be sanitized after each video visit. Each video visit will be secure and encrypted. Only people who have been approved as visitors may make a video visit appointment, and eligible prisoners will be allowed one free, 30-minute session once every 30 days.

Each eligible prisoner will be allowed a free, 30-minute video visit once every 30 days. The CDCR says they are also offering two free calls per month to prisoners.

The state’s video visits will be expanded to the rest of the state’s facilities by the end of the year.

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To request an appointment, visit the CDCR’s website.