TOLEDO, Ohio — With the coronavirus pandemic continuing to ravage the Toledo Correctional Institution (ToCl), the Ohio Department of Rehabilitiation and Corrections (ODRC) has confirmed that members of Ohio National Guard are now stationed at the north Toledo prison due to staffing levels.
Forty National Guardsmen are currently filling in at the prison heading into the next week, the ODRC said.
The updated COVID-19 numbers released by the Department of Corrections show that 71 corrections officers at Toledo Correctional currently have the virus.
That's out of 298 total corrections officers, or nearly 24% of the total.
Rufus Bowman, who's incarcerated at Toledo Correctional, said there's a mistrust among inmates and the National Guard.
"Them coming and going bothers us a little bit. You'll see one national guardsman one day and there'd be another one tomorrow. I've never seen the same one more than once," said Bowman.
Bowman said inmates at ToCl, fearful of contracting COVID-19, will do things like avoiding passing members of the National Guard.
Inmates will also wipe down surfaces guardsmen may have touched according to Bowman.
Bowman said guardsmen aren't always wearing masks inside the prison and don't wear gloves.
Bowman said he and other inmates at Toledo Correctional try to keep their distance as much as possible.
"We don't have COVID. We can't give them COVID," Bowman said. "But they can give us COVID."
WTOL 11 reached out to the Ohio National Guard for comment on this story but have not heard back.