San Quentin State Prison COVID-19 outbreak grows to more than 500 inmates

MARIN COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- ABC7 News told you about the outbreak of COVID-19 at San Quentin State Prison, but now we're hearing about conditions inside the prison where more than 500 inmates have been diagnosed with Coronavirus. Prisoners said something needs to be done so the situation doesn't get any worse.

For safety purposes, we haven't revealed the name of the inmates that we spoke with.

In an interview Thursday, inmates said the number of cases are soaring. One prisoner said, "They said only five cases, then it went to 15, then it went to 25, and now we're at over 500 now."

RELATED: Officials say they warned of San Quentin Prison's COVID-19 outbreak

There haven't been any confirmed COVID-19 deaths at this prison, but 71-year-old Richard Stitely who was on death row died Wednesday night. His cause of death hasn't been determined but inmates tell us he had COVID-19 symptoms.

Prisoners say what is most alarming is that they believe the rise in cases could have been prevented. One man saying, "It boggles my mind that they would take prisoners from the most infected prison and take them here."

Inmates said guards are being rotated from infected areas to uninfected areas daily. Saying that on Thursday alone the prison alarm sounded at least five times. Each time an inmate transferred to the medical area. "I wear a mask in the cell, I wore gloves handling stuff, I wash my hands religiously and still somehow my test came back positive and I never felt any symptoms," said one inmate.

RELATED: San Quentin prison becomes COVID-19 hot spot, conditions described as version of hell

Online there has been a mixed reaction to news of the San Quentin outbreak. Kristina Bell saying "I feel bad for the guards but I hope the prisoners experience the same hell they inflicted on others. Those we talked with acknowledged those opinions. One inmate simply saying, "We know that we're not here for pretty things but we're also not here to be tortured to death and tortured on a daily basis."

If you have a question or comment about the coronavirus pandemic, submit yours via the form below or here.
Get the latest news, information and videos about the novel coronavirus pandemic here

RELATED STORIES & VIDEOS:
Copyright © 2020 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.