After hearing that some prisoners are being let out due to infection, savvy criminals have decided to deliberately try to catch the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) in the hopes that corrections officers will simply open up the prison gates and release them.
"There was some mistaken belief among the inmate population that if they tested positive, there was a way to force our hand and somehow release more inmates out of our jail environment," stated L.A. Sheffir Alex Villanueva, who told the media that it was "deeply disturbing" to see a 60 percent jump in new Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in just one week.
Surveillance video that was captured on April 26 inside the Pitchess Detention Center in Castaic shows inmates trying to catch the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) by sharing bottles and masks. The footage shows inmates passing around the same bottle of hot water as they all take drinks from it, right before having their temperatures taken by a nurse.
"With the hot water, they were trying to falsely elevate their temperature readings to generate a symptom for COVID-19," Villanueva added.
Prisoners at the jail were also seen congregating closely with one another rather than practicing physical distancing, which may have increased their risk of contracting the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) from one another.
Not long after this video was captured, a shocking 21 inmates at the jail reportedly tested positive for the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19), which suggests that the plan worked. The only problem is that none of the infected were about to be released as they had hoped.
"All of a sudden we saw a spike, a few weeks ago, a very noticeable jump, and we couldn't really understand why when everything seemed to be going the way we wanted it to," Villanueva told reporters.
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How these inmates came up with their plan largely hinges upon the county jail system's massive population reduction since February. Reports indicate that over the past several months, L.A. County's inmate population has plummeted from 17,000 to just over 11,700.
This reduction did not necessarily have to do with the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and yet remaining prisoners appear to have thought it did, hence the stunt.
"Had this pandemic swept through while we were sitting on 17,000 inmates, the results would have been catastrophic," Villanueva contends.
Since May 4, the number of inmates at this prison facility with the virus jumped 60 percent from 123 confirmed cases to 357 confirmed cases. Of these 123 new cases, 117 of them have since recovered.
Meanwhile, all new prisoners that enter the system are being tested for the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19). This has led to nearly 5,000 inmates being placed under quarantine, or about 40 percent of the jail system's total population.
"There's a reason why these people are behind bars to begin with, because they violated the norms of society," Villanueva says. "But to then imperil not only their own safety, but the safety of their fellow inmates who did not want to participate in this behavior. It also endangers all the personnel, both the professional staff and the sworn staff."
To keep up with the latest news about the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19), be sure to check out Pandemic.news.
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