CHEROKEE CO., S.C. (WSPA) – Community members took part in a prayer walk around the Cherokee County Detention Center on Wednesday after a fourth of the staff there tested positive for Coronavirus.
One of the detention officers hit hardest by the virus is 29-year-old Georgio Foster.
“Ever since he was three years old, he always wanted to be a policeman or a fireman,” Foster’s mother Marie Foster-Camp said.
Georgio Foster just achieved a dream of his: becoming a part of the team at the Cherokee County Detention Center a little more than a month ago.
“He was so excited about it, he really was. And, being a mother, I’m proud. I’m proud of him,” Foster-Camp said.
But, now, Foster is in the hospital, fighting for his life.
“He went to work and he said, ‘Mama, they sent me home because of my temperature.’ And I said, ‘Okay, do you think you need to go get tested for COVID?'”
Sure enough, Foster tested positive and he’s now in serious condition. According to his family, he’s in a medically-induced coma, on a ventilator and having issues with his kidneys.
When his boss–Cherokee County Sheriff Steve Mueller–found out about this, he decided to do something to show his support. So, he organized a community prayer walk.
“Go to the ultimate position and we need to go to a higher authority. There’s nothing that we can do,” Sheriff Mueller said.
Foster’s family said they couldn’t be more grateful.
“It’s humbling that everyone is taking it into consideration and taking the time out to say a prayer for George,” Foster’s girlfriend Shaquinetta Morgan said.
And the prayers didn’t just go up for Foster, but for the entire detention center, as they have been hit hard by the virus, with 11 of about 40 employees testing positive.
“It’s like a whole crew–they’re not all on the same crew, they’re all on different crews–but this is like having a whole crew out,” Sheriff Mueller said.
Sheriff Mueller told 7 News they’re cleaning and sanitizing the jail even more frequently than before; and new inmates are isolated and tested before they are exposed to others in the jail.
Right now, he said, they have enough crew members to cover each shift.
“We’ve had to rearrange work schedules to make sure we have adequate coverage,” Sheriff Mueller said.
Foster’s mother now has a message for the community.
“This virus is real and everybody needs to protect themselves. We were protecting ourselves but, now, we are over-protecting ourselves because we don’t anybody else to catch it. I want everybody to know they don’t need to get this,” she said. “I don’t want any mother to have to go through what I’m going through now. I don’t want any family to have to go through what we’re going through, and I don’t want any patient to have to go through what my son is going through.”
And, in the meantime, Foster-Camp said she’s relying on the power of prayer.
“I love him so much. I want him to come home,” she said. “He’s coming out of there, I believe it.”
Sheriff Mueller said, so far, only two of about 240 inmates have tested positive for the virus.