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Goldstein Investigates: 2 More Terminal Island Inmates Dead As Coronavirus Outbreak Worsens

SAN PEDRO (CBSLA) -- Two more inmates have died at the federal prison on Terminal Island as the facility's COVID-19 outbreak continues to worsen.

More than half the population has tested positive for the virus, and cases surged 900 percent in one week.

Scott Cutting Jr., who spoke to CBS Los Angeles investigative reporter David Goldstein Thursday, said his father is a 70-year-old inmate who is in the hospital and he can't find out any more information on his condition.

"I feel terrible," he said. "That's my dad. I love him."

His dad had just started serving a less than two-year sentence for tax evasion at the federal prison when he contracted the novel coronavirus.

"He's been there only since January," his son said. "I can't believe...maybe he's going to die."

Terminal Island is the site of the worst outbreak of coronavirus of any federal prison in the country. Four inmates have died, including two in the last 24 hours. Over 600 inmates have tested positive, which compromises 57 percent of the inmate population.

Ten staff members have also tested positive.

The facility is a low security prison, and officials said they have set up temporary housing for healthy inmates and separated the sick according to CDC guidelines.

Cutting said officials didn't call until Wednesday to let him know his dad had been in the hospital for a week. They would not tell him where, but they wanted him to approve a do not resuscitate order. He refused.

"I can't believe that this kind of thing would happen," he said. "That they call you and want to do a DNR on my dad, like they're not going to try to help him."

Congresswoman Nanette Diaz-Barragan, who represents the San Pedro area, spoke to the warden Thursday, as well as Dr. Anthony Fauci.

"I told [Fauci] about the infection rate and he seemed pretty alarmed," she said. "I've asked him to help me by advocating for inmate safety."

Cutting said he hopes he can visit his dad soon.

"I love my dad," he said. "I don't want to lose him."

The outbreak has garnered the attention of both California senators, who wrote a letter this week to the Bureau of Prisons asking for an explanation on how such an outbreak could happen.


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