St. Brides inmate says COVID-19 outbreak worse than reported


CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — An inmate at St. Brides Correctional Center says the coronavirus has spread beyond what we are being led to believe, and now he’s convinced he’s got it too.

The inmate’s ex-wife recorded a phone call with him Thursday night, and she forwarded the recording to 10 On Your Side.

He talks about the movement of sick inmates into his section and how that spread the virus, and Tenasha Glenn says the outbreak is having a tragic effect on their 8-year-old son.

“It’s way more than 260, ’cause I got it and I’m not on the count,” the inmate said, referring to the 260 inmates reported as positive for COVID-19 this week by the Virginia Department of Corrections.

The inmate says he wasn’t counted among the 260 because he developed symptoms after the testing that was done last week.

“I have the same identical symptoms. I ain’t telling you what I think, I’m telling you what I’m going through myself. Sweating, diarrhea, body sore, weak fatigue, throwing up, all type of stuff.”

The inmate is in a transitional section, and already had a release date three weeks ago which was delayed because of COVID-19. He claims that sick inmates were transferred into his pod, with devastating results.

“When they moved those guys over here, it hit us just like that and it hit the entire pod. There ain’t one person that didn’t get something,” he said.

The inmate also says he and others who have symptoms aren’t getting the medications they need.

“This is not just a cold,” the inmate said. “This is COVID 19 and people are dying off of this stuff.”

The Department of Corrections issued these responses late Friday to the inmate’s claims:

Both staff & offenders wear adequate facial coverings/PPE. All returning citizens are provided with Sneeze Guards & staff are not allowed to enter onto the property without a mask. The Sneeze Guards are manufactured and distributed by Virginia Correctional Enterprises. VCE has manufactured and distributed more than 735,000 Sneeze Guards to dozens of state and local agencies.

The offenders are responsible for the routine cleaning of the telephones within their housing units with a chemical approved by the EPA for use in combating the coronavirus. The cleaning supplies are produced by Virginia Correctional Enterprises and there are no shortages of supplies in the facilities.

Any offender that complains of symptoms are promptly evaluated by medical staff. The medical provider is consulted and a determination is made on treatment options.

All offenders who tested positive for COVID-19 were cohorted together per DOC COVID-19 guidelines.

The facility and the DOC continue to operate under an extensive Pandemic Response Manual, following CDC guidelines for corrections and working closely with the Virginia Department of Health and other partners. Security and operations staff are carefully managing offender movement and adhering to the Department’s medical epidemic/pandemic sanitation plan.

But worst of all, the inmate’s ex-wife says the outbreak at St. Brides is terrifying their 8-year-old son.

“He’s having nightmares, waking up telling me he had a dream his daddy was dead, they found him dead in his room. And an 8-year-old, that shouldn’t be his worry,” Glenn said.

Meanwhile, we received a message Friday afternoon from an inmate’s fiancee, who describes the inmates as “sitting ducks in a petri dish” and she says they have begun a hunger strike.

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