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Oklahoma inmate dies after hospitalization for 'symptoms associated with COVID-19'

Oklahoma inmate dies after hospitalization for 'symptoms associated with COVID-19'

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An Oklahoma Department of Corrections inmate died Saturday after she was hospitalized with COVID-19 symptoms.

The woman was incarcerated at Eddie Warrior Correctional Center in Taft, in Muskogee County, where as of Thursday, 721 inmates had the coronavirus that causes the illness, according to the Department of Corrections. Officials did not identify the woman who died when reporting her death Monday.

Officials said in a news release that she was admitted to a hospital “for symptoms associated with COVID-19.” They did not, however, attribute her death to the disease.

The news release states that there have been no confirmed deaths of inmates from COVID-19 and that the state Medical Examiner’s Office will determine whether COVID-19 was a significant factor in the woman’s death.

The Eddie Warrior facility is among three state prisons considered COVID-19 hot spots. Joseph Harp and Mabel Bassett correctional centers are also in that category.

Prisons considered to be hot spots, according to the release, are closed to visitation and volunteer access. All inmates in those facilities are tested for the virus; protective equipment is provided to staff; and staff may volunteer for testing.

Inmates who test positive are isolated from those who have tested negative or are awaiting test results, the Department of Corrections has said.

As of Thursday, 1,568 inmates in Oklahoma prisons had tested positive for COVID-19, according to the DOC website. More up-to-date data was not available Monday.

At Eddie Warrior, of the 721 inmates who were positive for COVID-19 on Thursday, three were in a hospital and 718 were in isolation, according to the DOC. Sixteen other inmates had recovered. In addition, 16 staff members had tested positive, the DOC reported. Eddie Warrior is an open-dormitory minimum-security facility for women.

At Mabel Bassett Correctional Center, a medium-security facility for women, 101 inmates were positive Thursday, and one of them was in a hospital. An additional 115 inmates had recovered, the Department of Corrections said. Thirty-two staff members had tested positive.

At Joseph Harp Correctional Center, a medium-security prison for men, 93 inmates were positive for the virus on Thursday. Of those, 13 were in a hospital, the DOC reported. Another 48 inmates had recovered, and eight staff members had tested positive.

Of the state’s other prisons, many had no inmates positive for the coronavirus on Thursday, while a handful of others had numbers in the single digits, the DOC reported.

The Cimarron Correctional Facility, a private prison contracted by the DOC, had 25 positive inmates; the Howard McLeod Correctional Center had 47; and the Lawton Correctional Facility, another private prison, had 10, according to the DOC.

Inmates and their advocates have complained about the conditions at the prisons — especially Eddie Warrior — that have allowed the coronavirus to spread rampantly.

Across the state, 63,187 people have tested positive for COVID-19, and 853 people have died from it, the Oklahoma Department of Health reported.

Officials did not identify the woman who died when reporting her death Monday, but they described her as middle age.

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