On Monday the 23rd at just before 8 am my unit was put on lockdown due to a surge in COVID positive cases. According to the deputy warden, there have been over 100 new cases so far. We took the test on Friday the 20th, which means that the positive cases were around for 3 days after we got tested, that no one knew about.

The ones who have tested positive and are considered “close contact” with the positive inmates in my unit are being held inside the activity rooms, while the rest of us are on lockdown. There were 15 positive cases and at least as many close contacts that needed their property to be packed up and to be moved to the unit designated for positive cases. before this new outbreak, the school building and segregation were designated locations for the positive and close contact status inmates. now its been expanded to include a whole housing unit. Where I’m at there are 3 units, each holding 240 prisoners. They’ve also done the same with a unit in level one, that they sent some guys from here in level 2 to.

The way that everything was done was inefficient and irresponsible. As the guards were handling the contaminated property, they didn’t change their gloves or protective body suits they were wearing as they went and touched stuff around the unit. It was basically like there was no procedure for how to go about dealing with this, which is inexcusable because it just happened in a different unit a week earlier so its not like this was a first.

I took it upon myself to come out and clean by spraying and wiping everything down with bleach and taking all the trash out. I was on my feet for 12 hours straight doing my best to keep everythng clean. Because they kept the positive cases here, every time one of them needed to use the bathroom or get water, the area needed to be bleached before anyone else could use it again. The last 3 positive cases didn’t get moved out of the unit until 3am.

We were tested again on Wednesday, before Thanksgiving. since then there’s continually been inmates being shuffled around, which in the long run will only continue the endless cycle of this pandemic. There were at least 29 inmates that were moved to level 1, just to come back hours later because they tested positive. they potentially infected the “clean unit”.

On Saturday the 28th, another group move was done. Everyone that was leftover in the unit was told that we were negative. Come to find out that was an outright lie.

The next day, Sunday, the rest of the negative cases were told to pack up. That left over 100 of us, myself included, that were previously told we were negative, that are positive. When they came to move the negatives that had packed up, we were told that the people who were positive would also be packed up and they would be taking our property for 10 days. the excuse for taking our property was that in case someone had to go to the hospital the property would already be packed up, which makes no sense at all because almost no one has gone to the hospital here from covid.

We took a stand and made the decision that we weren’t letting out property being taken, and that no one was moving, positive or negative. our reasons were this, if they keep moving people around the only that they’re doing is continuing an endless cycle of spreading the virus. Think of it like this, we got tested on Wednesday and they were moving the majority of people on Sunday. That’s 3 days that the negative people were in close contact with all the positive cases.

So if they were to get moved to a clean unit, they would be taking the virus with them, respreading it. Its been proven that the administration can’t be left to make the smart, logical, and responsible decisions, and so we had to take it into our own hands to come up with a viable solution. the communication about what should be done and why was our last peaceful option. Luckily, good reasoning prevailed because there was a potential for a riot. Peaceful options should always be exhausted before anything else. So where we’re at no is that 3 out of the 4 floors inside our unit are for positive cases and one floor is for the negatives. We’re allowed different day room and yard times to isolate the negatives and positives and all areas are sanitized between uses.

In all honesty, I haven’t really had a chance to sort through all my thoughts about everything. Its been a lot of anger and frustration. One thing that I’m glad about is that the symptoms haven’t been bad on me, which was a big concern because I had a lot of serious lung and respiratory problems when I was younger.

Its unimaginable that there’s a whole department that’s meant to handle situations like this, and that its been happening in prisons all over the state for the better part of a year and this is what they’ve learned. A couple months ago, there literally wasn’t one single positive inmate case here, and now I’m positive along with hundreds of other inmates because the people who are paid to deal with these things, can’t deal with them. I shouldn’t be surprised, but it’s still screwed up that peoples lives are being gambled with because of others incompetency. not knowing whether you’re actually going to make it out of prison alive is a sobering thought.

I’ve been a little too busy living through the things I’m writing about than to sit down and analyze everything, but this is what I’m living right now.

I had wrote this out last night, but I got woke up this morning because everyone who was supposed to be negative and got moved to level one got moved back over here to level two because they all tested positive.
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