This testimony was a declaration from the May 7, 2020 filing of a new class action lawsuit over jail conditions related to COVID-19 on behalf of prisoners at Santa Rita Jail against the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office.
I am incarcerated at the Santa Rita Jail. I am a federal inmate. I am pretrial. While housed in Housing Unit 32, I caught COVID-19. First Johnny, then Justin. Then other people developed symptoms. On April 18, 2020, I started coughing. I could not inhale. I had a fever, headaches diarrhea. I had the shivers. I was dizzy. The light bothered my eyes. I thought I had the COVID, but I didn’t know much about it. The jail gave me no information.
At first, I didn’t want to tell the jail, because everyone was saying that if you tell the jail, they’re just going to put you into the “hole”. And because I didn’t have any information on COVID, I thought I’d just ride it out. I rode it out for over a week, and finally on April 27, 2020, I put in for sick call. During this time, they were taking everyone’s temperature every day with the forehead thermometer, and my temperature was always fine. But on April 27, 2020, I knew I was real sick, and so when I put in the sick call slip, they took my temperature again with the forehead thermometer, and it still read fine. But then, they put the real thermometer, the one you stick under your tongue, and that thermometer read 101 degrees.
The next day, they gave me the COVID test, and on April 30, 2020, I tested positive. In solitary confinement, I got nothing. No cough drops , no extra blanket, no Tylenol, no hot drink, nothing. Just be in that room and suffer. Truly, I thought I was going to die.
The jail then threw me into solitary confinement. The cell they put me in was so filthy. Everything about that cell was filthy, the walls, the floors, the concrete slab where you put your mattress, the sink. And so when they put me in there, and I was already feeling bad, I couldn’t lay down because the cell was so dirty. All I could do was sit on the small metal stool, for hours, until they finally brought some cleaning supplies. The jail just threw me into a filthy cell and closed the door.
The next day, they gave me the COVID test, and on April 30, 2020, I tested positive. In solitary confinement, I got nothing. No cough drops, no extra blanket, no Tylenol, no hot drink, nothing. Just be in that room and suffer. Truly, I thought I was going to die. I think about Johnny. I wondered if Johnny died. I never saw him again after they took him.