COVID-19 deaths in federal prisons rise to 15; about 700 staff and inmates sick

Five inmates have died of COVID-19 at Elkton Federal Correctional Facility in Lisbon, OH. Ten more have died at two other federal prisons, none in Florida. Credit: U.S. Bureau of Prisons

COVID-19 killed two more inmates this week at a federal prison in Lisbon, Ohio, one of 10 hotspots among the nation’s 122 federal prisons.

Fifteen inmates have died of the disease in three federal prisons since April 1.

So far, Florida’s nine federal prisons, with 10,000 inmates, have reported no fatalities.

The U.S. Bureau of Prisons reported that the men who died Monday and Tuesday were imprisoned at Elkton Federal Correctional Institution, where they became infected and developed double pneumonia.

They were transferred to a local hospital, where they tested positive for coronavirus, were placed on ventilators, and died a week later. One was 43, the other 71.

The death toll at Elkton FCI through Tuesday was five, according to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons.

The other two federal prisons with reported deaths are Oakdale FCI in Oakdale, LA, with six deaths, and Butner FCI in Butner, NC., with four deaths.

In terms of infections nationwide, 446 inmates and 248 staff in 44 federal prisons are confirmed to be sick from the new coronavirus, which causes the COVID-19 respiratory disease, according to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons.

In Florida, two employees and one inmate are confirmed as infected at Coleman FCI in Sumter County. And at Miami Federal Detention Center, which holds people arrested but not convicted, two staff tested positive for the disease.

Forty-four federal prisons have confirmed cases of COVID-19. Credit: U.S. Bureau of Prisons

Elsewhere, the hotspots are Lompoc U.S. Penitentiary, in California, where 69 inmates and 17 staff are infected;

Two prisons in Butner, in North Carolina, with 60 inmates and 27 staff infected;

Danbury FCI in Danbury, CT, with 44 inmates and 39 staff infected;

Forrest City FCI, in Forrest City, AZ, with 41 inmates and two staff infected;

Yazoo City FCI in Yazoo City, MS, with 39 inmates and two staff infected:

Oakdale FCI, with 37 inmates and 19 staff infected;

Elkton FCI, with 36 inmates and 26 staff infected;

Milan FCI in Milan, MI, with 21 inmates and 23 staff infected;

And New York Metropolitan Correctional Center, with five inmates and 18 staff infected.

The 34 other federal prisons have between one and 20 confirmed infection cases.

Inmate advocates around the country are calling on governors to release certain inmates to slow the infection rate. The federal prison system has released more than 600 inmates, and some states including Colorado, Washington and California have released state inmates early. Florida has not.

Meanwhile, in Florida’s state-run prisons, 56 employees and 35 inmates have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the Florida Department of Corrections.

Most are at Blackwater Correctional Facility, privately run by the Geo Group Inc., where 33 inmates are confirmed as infected along with eight staff. Another 24 prisons and three regional probation offices have between one and five cases.

Florida has 145 state-run prisons, incarcerating 96,000 inmates.

An earlier version of the story stated that no inmates in state prisons have died from COVID-19, according to the FL Department of Corrections. The News Service of Florida confirmed Wednesday through a local medical examiner’s office that two state prison inmates at a privately-run state prison died earlier in April, and the corrections department had not disclosed the deaths for several days.