Testing every Friday

This story was told by a person incarcerated at Avenal.

UCI: So, how is the current COVID situation at Avenal?

Caller: I don’t know. They’ve been having outbreaks. So, it’s kind of like, right now, it’s not a good time. I get tested every Friday.

UCI: Every Friday?

Caller: Yeah, because I got, I was tested negative.

UCI: That’s good.

Caller: So, they test me every Friday.

UCI: Well, it’s good to hear that you don’t have it. So, what have they been doing at your facility to combat COVID-19?

Caller: They kind of have us isolated, separated like within buildings. But one building just had an outbreak. So, I don’t know what’s going to happen next with these guys. But everything’s kind of like, it’s kind of monitored.

We have to wear, yeah, we have to wear a mask inside the building. It’s kind of – they’re doing an okay job. As best as they could anyways for being in this type of environment.

UCI: So, what about at your building? Has there been any, has there been any large amounts of people infected with it?

Caller: Oh, this whole building. This building that I’m in has a population of 190.

Out of the 190, 145 tested positive. Forty-five of us tested negative. And they left us in here.

UCI: So, they moved everyone else out?

Caller: I didn’t get quarantined. None of us got quarantined. Nothing happened. They just said if we get signs or symptoms to let them know. But that’s the way it was. And I’ve been testing negative ever since.

The last time I – I mean, I got tested in June when everybody tested positive and I’ve been negative ever since. So, I have never tested positive.

But I believe I caught it back, I caught it back in February before all this started. I think I was like one of the first ones because I had all the symptoms.

UCI: How did it feel to have COVID-19?

Caller: Oh, it was kind of scary. I felt, I knew something was wrong because I had the shivers.

Fever. I had everything but the loss of taste and smell. I had all the other symptoms. There was shortness of breath. Fevers. Chills.

UCI: So, back in February when you first got it, did the staff members do anything to prevent other people from getting it?

Caller: No, because they didn’t, at the time it wasn’t really known for it to be in the system, so they – I went to medical and I told them I had the chills and fever, but I was not COVID tested.

They just thought it was maybe the flu or something. And then I just, I got better. So, that was kind of like the end of story until they got test – they didn’t have the tests here yet in the prison system. So, when they finally did, this whole yard ended up being infected, tested positive.