TULSA, Okla. — A former inmate from Eddie Warrior Correctional Facility is worried for her friends who are still in the prison during the pandemic.
Sharra Savage said it was bitter-sweet to leave the prison two weeks ago. She’s happy to be out, but she’s also concerned for the health and safety of her friends; many of them, she claims, were battling COVID-19 the day she left.
“It was really hard for me to leave,” Savage said.
More than 400 inmates at Eddie Warrior Correctional Facility have recovered from COVID-19 since the outbreak began and more than 300 inmates are still battling the virus.
“The mental health of all of us was pretty bad because we didn’t know what was going on,” Savage said. At the time, Savage was among 150 other inmates in an open-style dorm with bunk-beds stacked next to each other.
“Six weeks before I was released, we all started getting sick,” Savage said.
Nancy Dalquest, a friend of an inmate within the prison, said she's concerned with inmates living in such close quarters.
“When she called, after they moved her in the middle of the night into a room with 155 other women, she assumed all infected, she was scared,” Dalquest said.
Department of Corrections officials said the situation is complex because it’s hard to social distance in a prison environment. In a news conference Tuesday they said the lives of the inmates are top priority.
“This is extremely important. A positive case makes me sick but an inmate’s death makes me even sicker,” director for Department of Corrections, Scott Crow said.
There are now 1,389 inmates COVID-19, 98% of them are asymptomatic. The Department of Corrections reported nine inmate deaths and three staff deaths from COVID-19 complications.
Meanwhile, Savage said she hopes the prison can increase medical staff.
“I hope people are getting better there because its bad, it’s really bad there,” she said.
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