I Tested Covid Punitive

preparing for quarantine

Written by Rory Andes

We all have a powerful story and I’m no different. My name is Rory and I have a story of hope that I want to tell you. I’m a combat veteran of Iraq who’s had my own life challenges but I work hard at promoting a better life, especially in the face of my shortcomings. I’m a writer for HumanMe.org and I just started blogging a couple of years ago. I enjoy the human condition and how people repair their own broken lives. It’s become a passion for me. I have other interests too! I’m a quilter, a public speaker and I’m extremely driven to find the very best in people. I work intently with veteran’s issues because there are more of us in prison than I’d like to admit. My favorite work is done with the University of Washington on special projects with students. I serve my prison community as a peer reentry facilitator to help people reclaim their freedoms. I love a great joke, a good book and I can cook. I like a brilliant movie and I’m into all types of music. I’m a trivia hound and I like questions. I’m sensitive and empathic and people mean the world to me. I’m a deeply social person who wants to build my network beyond prison and I want you to know me. I really want to know you! I hope we can connect and strike up a wonderful conversation.

January 29, 2022

On January 23rd I took a Covid PCR test and, because of the absolute mismanagement of the Covid response in our prison, I tested “Covid Punitive.” I had been going to work, taking rapid tests to get in, for almost 2 weeks without incident (including the time of the PCR) and yesterday, my results were in… I was positive. I can remember a day last week of some sweats and a sore throat, but we had just had flu shots, so I assumed it was associated with that. So, in the prison’s terrible response to this, I was snatched from work, locked in my cell, told to pack everything I own in 15 minutes, chained and shackled, loaded up on a bus with 78 other positives, and taken to another prison without a clue what was happening to us.

There, I sat in a filthy cell where I could touch two walls at once, without anything to clean it with. It has open bars and all night I could hear others struggling to breathe, coughing and hacking. The “mattresses” we use are a pad about two inches thick on a hard metal tray bolted to the wall and it makes your arms numb in the night. We were told we will only have one chance to get out for a shower or a phone call — once a day. This prison is over 100 years old and this cellblock had been recently shut down. It’s disgusting. But it’s now the “Covid Isolation” unit. I’ve been stripped of everything — all the meager comforts I had — because it’s all now in storage (I hope) and get to deal with this 10-14 day knee in the back (or longer if people keep testing positive). Imagine if you had tested positive and had to pack up your home, hoped someone stored all of it, got harnessed like an animal and moved to some random, filthy house, halfway across town… and, like some here, do it all while you can hardly breathe.

There’s a logical, scientific, and humane way for this prison command to deal with sick people, but instead of seeing an opportunity for compassion, it’s a chance at kicking someone while they’re down. Everyone around here is terrified of the Covid tests. Not because of being ill, we can deal with that, but a Covid positive test result is really a Covid Punitive test result. If you think Covid can make you feel miserable, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet…

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