Butte County Jail taking safety precautions to protect inmates from COVID-19

Action News Now spoke with one inmate and his mother who are both very concerned about the spread of the virus.

Posted: Dec 17, 2020 7:36 PM
Updated: Dec 17, 2020 7:37 PM

OROVILLE, Calif. - One inmate and his mother are worried about the spread of the coronavirus in the Butte County Jail. 

"I feel like he is just being sentenced to catch COVID,” said the mother of an inmate, Heather Velasquez.

"I am concerned about our health because we don't want to catch the sickness and we are being exposed and they are not moving us," said inmate, Andrew Velasquez. "They are not doing anything about it. I feel like it is not right."

The Butte County Jail admitted Velasquez on Nov. 26.

He said he is constantly around inmates who tested positive for COVID-19.

"When you walk into the dorm, there are 48 beds on one side of the wall and they are all within two to three feet apart," said Velasquez. 

Action News Now took Andrew and his mother’s concerns to the Butte County Sheriff.

"We can't just house every new person coming into the jail in the same location and keep them separate from everybody because their classification may not warrant that or allow that," said Sheriff Kory Honea. 

"They give us this thing called one step and it is like a floor cleaner and not much of a sanitizer," said Velasquez. 

"It is a multi-purpose cleaning product," said Honea. "It can be used on any surface whatsoever. It is called one-step because it only requires one step which is you spray it on there and then it ultimately will clean and combat the virus."

Velasquez is scheduled for release on January 1st or 2nd. He said he is worried he will bring the coronavirus to his home. 

"I am pretty nervous because we are still exposed and there is not much we can do about it," said Velasquez. "It is really concerning, especially to our loved ones."

Honea says if an inmate has COVID-19 when they're supposed to be released, the department will work with Butte County Public Health to make sure they have somewhere to isolate, or get them a hotel room if they don't.

Right now, 26 inmates tested positive for the virus, and three inmates have pending results.

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