PORTLAND, Ore. — It should come as no surprise that Nellie Love misses her fiancé who is incarcerated at Two Rivers Correctional Institution in Umatilla. Love is now worried about him, as well.
"It's scary," she said. "It is scary."
Love has heard from both her fiancé and other women with loved ones in the prison that guards are not taking COVID-19 seriously.
"I've been hearing they're not wearing masks in there at all," said Love. "The guards, any staff members, aren't wearing masks."
It is a troubling claim considering there is an outbreak at Two Rivers. According to data released by the Oregon Department of Corrections, 15 people at Two Rivers, both staff and adults in custody, have tested positive for COVID-19. The Oregon State Penitentiary is dealing with 184 cases. Snake River Correctional Institution has 117 cases.
"I hope it doesn't get worse," said Love.
Love told KGW she did reach out to Oregon OSHA regarding her concerns over a lack of masks at Two Rivers.
"Last Friday they sent me an email saying they sent a letter to the prison."
Oregon OSHA is now asking the Department of Corrections to investigate Love's allegations. Regardless of the outcome, Love says her fiancé is exercising caution.
"He stays healthy, takes his vitamins and stuff. I tell him to be safe in there, wash everything."
The Department of Corrections sent a statement to KGW saying the safety of employees and people incarcerated is a top priority. They say masks are required in the prisons when social distancing is not possible.