Wednesday, May 13, 2020


Friday, May 8, 2020, 11:37 a.m. Tomoka C.I., Daytona Beach, Florida

Fairly quiet Thursday and Friday, with insignificant exceptions, mostly. The warden came in yesterday afternoon to make a speech to tell us our status, which is ''medical isolation,'' but if no one exhibits any symptoms by Saturday morning, he will call FDC headquarters in Tallahassee, seeking a change to ''recovery status,'' which could last14 more days. The FDC headquarters is following CDC guidelines, he said.

A status change is one step closer to clearance. Practically, it means we can go to the canteen, instead of filling out a limited form to be delivered once a week. We can also make laps around the closed basketball/tennis court during ''rec,'' rather than walk around the much bigger farm field. I'd much prefer to go to the farm field, but no one asked my opinion.

Temperature check by nurses: 97.7°, blood oxygen 98%, pulse 69.

They're serving lunch now, ''chow.'' Back later. Charlie.

5:00 p.m. Last week Dr. Westfall saw all of us, and said he would be back today for another checkup. It's five o'clock, and he hasn't shown up. We get that a lot, lip service.

Every day I tell my grumbling fellow prisoners to thank God that we are still at Tomoka, in dorm K-1, and didn't join the men from dorm F-1, who were shipped to Columbia C. I. two weeks ago. The premise justifying the transfer was that those two dorms were the only ones here where no one exhibited symptoms, so we would be shipped away from this contaminated compound.

Fortunately, before dorm K-1 got on the prison bus, one old-timer's results came back positive, cancelling the transfer and putting us in quarantine status. F-1 transferred. Then they picked out twelve in my dorm for virus tests, and five, including me, tested positive. Along with a sampling of positive tests from other dorms, we went to K-1.

There has always been a prison ''grapevine'' that communicates information throughout the state prison system. In the new Internet age, the grapevine is called ''inmate dot com.'' I don't know if there is an actual '''' website (would someone please check?), but prisoners and guards refer to it. ''Don't ask me,'' an officer once said to me. ''Go to inmate dot com. Ya'll hear about it before we do.''

Inmate dot com reported the hardships suffered by the men from F-1, told us that twenty-five tested positive at Columbia, and one man was rushed to a local hospital Friday after his temperature spiked to 103° he began vomiting, and broke out in a shingles-type rash. The doctor and nurses gave him an I/V, it didn't help, so he was sent to the hospital. No further news.

We read reports from around the U.S.A. of prisons that are much worse off than Florida. The federal prisons are reported to have thousands of positive prisoners. From U.S.A. Today:

Little Rock, Arkansas--Prison staff who test positive for the coronavirus have been allowed to work at a facility where at least 876 inmates have the virus, a correction official said in a court document filed Tuesday. Arkansas Division of Correction Director Dexter Payne said the agency has allowed staff who have tested positive to work at the Cummins Unit if they are asymptomatic.

Frankfort, Kentucky: A prison has been hit by hundreds of coronavirus cases, prompting action to separate inmates into housing units based on their health conditions. Testing of inmates and staff at the Green River Correctional Complex in Central City revealed more than 300 additional virus cases, Gov. Andy Be shear said Tuesday.

Jackson, Mississippi: Gov. Tate Reeves said Wednesday that the state will not consider early release for prisoners during the coronavirus pandemic, even with inmates living with inmates living in conditions that make social distancing difficult.

Nashville, Tennessee: Officials have reported the first death of a state inmate who tested positive for the coronavirus: a man who was among the nearly 1,300 inmates who tested positive at the privately operated Trousdale Turner Correctional Center.


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