In FL state prisons, 28 dead of COVID-19, thousands in quarantine after known exposure

COVID-19 has killed 127 inmates in Florida's public and private state prisons, as of Sept. 24. Credit: Iuoman/Getty Images

Up to 28 inmates have died in Florida’s state prisons, while nearly 7,500 are in medical quarantine and 512 in medical isolation exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, according to a Department of Corrections report on Friday.

The DOC incarcerates roughly 94,000 inmates in 143 prisons around the state.

Seven inmates died early in the pandemic at Blackwater Correctional Facility, a men’s prison in Santa Rosa County privately run by the GEO Group. The prison incarcerates approximately 2,000 men.

Since then, the Florida Department of Health reports that five inmates have died at South Florida Reception Center in Miami, a prison for approximately 1,100 male adults and teens.

Three inmates have died at Sumter Correctional Institution, a men‘s prison in Sumter County; two at Dade Correctional Institution for men; two at Everglades Correctional Institution for men in Miami; two at Homestead Correctional Institution, a women’s prison; two at South Bay Correctional Facility, a men’s prison in Palm Beach County run by the GEO Group; two at Union Correctional Institution for men; and one at Liberty Correctional Institution for men in Liberty County.

The state health department is reporting 26 deaths; the state corrections department cites 28, without supplying any details.

In terms of testing for COVID-19, the highest number of positive tests are reported at the women’s prison in Homestead, with 302; GEO Group’s South Bay men’s prison, with 222; Liberty CI, with 215, and Hamilton Correctional Institution, with 204.

The DOC does not disclose exactly how many inmates those test results represent, nor how many inmates remain untested.

Emerging hotspots appear to be Polk County Correctional Institution for men, reporting 181 positive test results and 230 test results pending, and Avon Park CI, with 152 positive tests and 214 pending.