AUBURN, Calif. (KTXL) — More than a dozen inmates have contracted the coronavirus at the Auburn Jail in Placer County.
Knarik Dermishyan and her family are worried about her 31-year-old brother, Movses, who is an inmate there.
“It’s just a matter of time. When are they going to get it?” Knarik told FOX40. “We’re just all afraid. It’s a global issue going around and he’s a non-violent inmate. So, I feel like he should at least have a chance to do his sentencing, do alternative sentencing, do ankle monitoring, do something.”
Since May 30, 14 inmates inside the Auburn Jail and one correctional officer have all tested positive for COVID-19.
Movses has been in custody at the jail since January.
“They had months to prepare for this,” said Movses. “Other jails are releasing inmates who are non-violent, this and that. But they haven’t done anything about it. They just want to keep us here until we get it.”
Movses told FOX40 he didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary until about two weeks ago.
“Officers just started wearing masks, just recently they started wearing masks,” said Movses. “And then as soon as we went on lockdown, they weren’t telling us what for. But all of a sudden they started wearing hazmat suits. We knew for sure there’s something going on.”
He said he doesn’t see the areas where he and other inmates spend time being sanitized or cleaned regularly.
“I’ve been on lockdown for about two weeks, around two weeks,” said Movses. “There’s nothing that serves a purpose for that because everybody’s using the same phones, everybody’s using the same tables, same showers, same everything, you know what I mean?”
“We don’t even have soap or sanitizer like that in the bathrooms. It’s just a matter of time until we catch it here, you know what I mean?”
Movses said a sergeant told inmates that “99% of us will get it. We won’t even know it, they said.”
“I feel like it’s spreading so fast, there’s nothing stopping it,” he told FOX40.
In a prepared statement, a spokesperson for the Placer County Sheriff’s Office said:
Our jail staff has quarantined inmates as needed and is closely working with Placer County Health Officer Dr. Aimee Sisson to prevent further spread within the facility.
The jail has adjusted its inmate programming to address the health of all inmates in the jail, and to ensure that each inmate is receiving adequate time off lock-down.
Movses said many other inmates would like to share their experiences inside the jail but are unable to because of the lockdown.
The Placer County Sheriff’s Office also oversees the South Placer County Jail, where they say there have been no reported cases of COVID-19.
Newly arrested inmates will now be taken there instead of the Auburn facility and will be given a health screening prior to being booked.
The transfer of inmates between the two jails has been suspended.