‘Rona on the Row – An Update on Daniel Wozniak and COVID-19 at San Quentin Prison

The tests came back, Daniel Wozniak, along with at least 159 other death row inmates, is infected with COVID-19. 

Daniel is, so far, completely asymptomatic. He took the actual test more than five days ago, so it’s unlikely he will end up experiencing any symptoms from the virus. 

Soon after the results came back, a guard with a large roll of red tape walked up and down the tiers, marking the cells of the infected inmates. A friend of Daniel’s who was being walked to the showers commented on seeing that tape on every tier.

Now a nurse comes to his cell twice a day to check his temperature and ask if he’s having any symptoms.

Nurses, guards, and all other non-inmates staff at San Quentin are now dressed in full protective gear at all times.

“They look like Dustin Hoffman in the movie Outbreak,” Daniel remarked.

Daniel hears alarms going off almost hourly. He’s been hearing calls of “man down” from areas throughout the building, but he has no idea if inmates are being removed from their cells. He’s not sure where they would be taken, anyway, since the prison’s hospital is full. 

Daniel did see a stretcher being carried out on a recent Wednesday night. He learned from me that this was probably Richard Eugene Stitely, a 71 year old who had died, but whether or not Stitely was infected is to be determined.

It’s impossible to say how many inmates at San Quentin are actually infected with COVID-19. Daniel Wozniak has no idea of the circumstances on the prison’s mainline. Clearly there are hundreds of positive cases, and overcrowding has to be exacerbating the problem of keeping the healthy separated from the sick. 

Perhaps some readers have trouble sympathizing for men who have been condemned to die, but this prison is filled with so many more people than the 740 or so who are on death row. There are almost 50 sick guards, and the ones that are still healthy are working double and triple shifts to cover for guards who can’t come to work. 

This situation is terrible for everyone in and out of that prison.

Read my previous post on COVID-19 at San Quentin.

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