Otero County Prison sees surge in COVID-19 cases

Coronavirus New Mexico

(KFOX) – One of the biggest outbreaks of COVID-19 has been at the Otero County Prison with 275 cases. Salina Madrid from our affiliate in El Paso spoke with an inmate who says more needs to be done to keep inmates safe.

“What they say is going on, and what’s really actually going on back here is two different things,” said the inmate.

Over the last few weeks, Madrid have done numerous stories about the hundreds of COVID cases inside the Otero County Prison. Madrid spoke with concerned family members and corrections officials. Wednesday Madrid spoke with an inmate.

“Everybody has anxiety and stuff wondering well damn, you know, why do you keep putting us in a position to where there’s a chance that we might catch it,” said an inmate. The inmate says the positive cases are not being separated from negative ones. “They just put us all in one pod and they said well some of you guys are going to be positive, they left us in there all weekend.”

Madrid asked the New Mexico Corrections Department why the inmate is saying this when over the last few weeks their department said this wasn’t the case.

“I’m not sure, at this time we do not have inmates that tested negative with positive inmates,” said spokesperson Eric Harrison of the New Mexico Corrections Department.

The big question is if inmates are being separated and treated the way they’re supposed to, why is the facility continuing to see their numbers increase? Their response:

“If we have all the negative inmates separated from the positives, that’s great, but we need to make sure the staff that are working with them are also testing negative before they come to work,” said Harrison. The department says because of this, last week they tested 100% of their staff.

“I understand the concern of family members and inmates, but we really think that testing initiative will help us going forward,” Harrison said. The inmate says he just wants answers.

“All they keep saying is just cooperate, cooperate and I told them, all we’ve been doing is cooperating with you guys and you guys leave us in the dark,” said the inmate.

The corrections department says going forward, negative inmates will be tested every four days and positive inmates every two weeks and 25% of the staff will now be tested weekly.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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