TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — It's a trend federal correctional officers say makes them nervous about going to work every day. COVID-19 cases spreading among inmates.
While Tallahassee has only had one case so far, corrections officers say that's about to change.
The big difference now is the U.S. Marshal's Service started transporting inmates back into the prison for the first time since March.
Two Florida correctional officers recently died from COVID-19.
Dr. Kristian Morgan is a registered nurse at the Florida Federal Corrections Institute in Tallahassee.
"We're definitely nervous," said Morgan. "We're scared."
She is one of many staff members who's saying going to work these days brings up a lot of worries.
"If we're going to receive inmates that are positive, if we're going to be assigned to inmates that have already tested positive it's pretty shaky from day-to-day," said Yalimany Dudley, a federal correctional officer.
Dudley and Morgan say this stems from the prison system restarting the transportation of inmates. Morgan says the inmates come in without being tested beforehand, bringing the virus with them.
"We received about eight inmates from the Marshall service last week," Morgan said. "Five of those tested positive as soon as they entered inside the institution when we did rapid testing."
The Bureau of Prisons website shows active cases at 111 different sites across the country, including Tallahassee's.
Thursday, the website reflects seven inmates with COVID-19 and 10 staff members.
Dudley says sanitizing resources are few, leaving many to buy their own to stay protected.
"You don't have the proper equipment," said Dudley. "And not only that, you can't stay six feet away from inmates. A lot of times it's one or two feet."
Morgan says if prison leaders continue down this path those case numbers will increase dramatically.
"The problem is we have a small area to contain, quarantine inmates, and these inmates are starting to get mixed in with each other," Morgan said. "Inmates that don't have COVID are being exposed to inmates that have COVID and it's just becoming a nightmare."
The media affairs office for the federal prison system hasn't responded to ABC 27, however, they say all inmates are tested and all staff is given cloth masks.
The website does not address the transportation of inmates.