Northampton County reported yesterday that seven inmates and seven staffers have tested positive for Covid-19. Fortunately, six of the seven inmates have successfully completed quarantine, while five of the staffers are back on the job. At Thursday night's Council meeting Executive Lamont McClure was highly complimentary of the way corrections officers have stepped up since this crisis began. Their "can do" attitude no doubt influenced his decision to award hazard pay to them, Gracedale employees and other county personnel who come into contact with Covid-19.
Here's how one corrections officer has described the experience.
"I'm a Corrections Officer at the prison. Despite the risks we are showing up and doing our job. When there is a lockdown for as long as we've had, tensions usually rise and trouble is inherent. Amazingly we have kept control and that is also a credit to the inmates. We didn't ask for hazard pay but we sure as hell won't refuse it. I live within my means with my regular rate even though my wife lost her job due to the pandemic. I'll gladly sacrifice my hazard pay if only things would get back to normal. This virus poses a far greater danger in here than anything I've ever dealt with within these walls. I just want to get through this and feel safe again. But for now, sadly this is the new normal."
I am so impressed by the professionalism and quiet courage displayed by this officer.