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Inmates discuss recent COVID-19 outbreak in Butte County jail

Action News Now spoke with four inmates at the Butte County Jail about the recent coronavirus outbreak. Listen to the raw interview in the audio players below

Posted: Jul 21, 2020 6:20 PM

CHICO, Calif. -Action News Now spoke with four inmates at the Butte County Jail about the recent coronavirus outbreak. Listen to the raw interview in the audio players below

A spike in coronavirus cases at the Butte County jail leaves 71 out of about 500 inmates infected.

"I haven’t done something so heinous to deserve what could possibly be a removal from my own life due to negligence," said an inmate.

Some inmates at the Butte County jail are scared for their life after the coronavirus rapidly spread through the jail and sent one to the hospital.

"We’ve always known that if it got in here that it was going to spread like wildfire and we weren’t going to have an opportunity to social distance," said, James Clinton an inmate from Chico.

The inmates that Action News Now talked to say they’re worried about the outsiders coming in.

"Some of them look pretty sick to us they’re coughing and hacking," he said.

The Butte County Sheriff's Office says if entering inmates have symptoms or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 they’re quarantined.

"It looks like a drenched morgue in here everybody’s dragging around coughing sweating cold chills aches," he said.

The inmates tell me they weren’t given any masks until just last week

Action News Now asked an inmate if they are now required to masks, Clinton said, "Maam I'm looking across the room at 40 people and there's not a single mask being worn."

Action News Now as if the inmates feel like the staff is implementing better safety protocol.

"They come in at 7 o’clock at night take our vitals to take out temperature and that’s it, we’re basically breathing the same air as everyone in the pod I told him well what if I get better and somebody else still has it and get it again he says ok well we know that could possibly happen but still this is what we have to do," said Lawrence Lucero, an inmate transferred from San Francisco.

We checked with the sheriff’s office. They tell us they test everyone, do weekly temperature and symptom checks, and provide masks to inmates and staff and encourage but don’t mandate they wear them.

Inmates with confirmed cases are isolated together and away from the remainder of the population.

Officials say none of the staff members have tested positive, and the jail is working with public health and its medical services to mitigate the spread of the virus.

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Listen to the raw interview Action News Now had with four inmates, along with a full response from the sheriff's office discussing the recent COVID-19 outbreak in the Butte County Jail below:

Listen to part two of the interview below

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