SOMERSET, Pa. (KDKA) — At least five workers at the state prison in Somerset County were taken to the hospital Thursday, as well as a guard at SCI Greene.READ MORE: North Fayette Township Rallies Together To Support 4-Year-Old Zoey Bair's Battle With Anaplastic Ependymoma
State prisons remain under lockdown with no visitors, no mail and no prisoners allowed out of their cells because more than two dozen prison workers have had some degree of chemical reaction in recent weeks.
On Thursday evening, three employees got sick while passing out dinner trays to inmates at the prison in Somerset.
They opened a cell door and saw inmates smoking an unknown substance. Soon they felt dazed, ill and flushed.
They were sent to the prison’s medical department, where they were all found to have elevated heart rates. The three employees were sent to a Somerset ER for evaluation.
Then, an officer trying to clear the air began feeling lethargic, and a second officer was taken way for evaluation.READ MORE: FEMA Program To Reimburse Families' Funeral Expenses For COVID-19 Related Deaths
- Synthetic Drugs Believed To Be Cause In Rash Of Prison Employee Illnesses
- Pennsylvania Prisons Placed On Lockdown As Mystery Illnesses Probed
- Dept. Of Corrections: SCI Greene Employee Exposed To Unknown Substance, Hospitalized
- SCI Greene Corrections Officers Exposed To Unknown Substance, Hospitalized
Also on Thursday, a guard at SCI Greene was taken to the hospital. However, this case is a bit of mystery.
It was an officer who was teaching a class on personal protective equipment, who was taken to the hospital after feeling a metallic taste in his mouth. Oddly though, he wasn’t even near the inmates or their property.
The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections Secretary John Wetzel says the problem in these cases is synthetic marijuana known as K2.
It’s a clear, odorless liquid that can be sprayed on paper.MORE NEWS: Multi-Vehicle Crash On I-376 Westbound Shuts Down All Lanes
It can cause confusion, anxiety, paranoia, and can make guards sick who touch it, which is why the lockdown will remain until prison workers can get hazmat training.