2nd prison inmate dies with COVID symptoms

A second prison inmate has died after being hospitalized for COVID-19 symptoms.

The Oklahoma Corrections Department announced the death Thursday as House Democrats asked the governor to implement a regular testing program for all guards and other employees.

“We have learned that your administration has taken a stance that DOC cannot require employees to be tested,” House Minority Leader Emily Virgin wrote Gov. Kevin Stitt.

“This position is without legal basis. Other states have already implemented staff testing programs to protect their communities. Oklahoma must follow suit.”

The inmate from the Joseph Harp Correctional Center died Wednesday more than a week after being hospitalized in Oklahoma City, according to a news release. The inmate, who was not identified, had tested positive for COVID-19 before his hospitalization.

The Joseph Harp Correctional Center was designated in August a COVID-19 “hot spot.” As of noon Wednesday, the medium-security facility in Lexington had 92 currently positive inmates and 51 recovered inmates, according to the latest statistics on the Corrections Department’s website.

A female inmate at the minimum-security women’s prison in Taft died Saturday after being hospitalized for COVID-19 symptoms.

The Eddie Warrior Correctional Center also was designated a “hot spot” in August. As of noon Wednesday, 708 inmates there were currently positive and another 32 were recovered, according to the latest statistics.

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