Four more Oklahoma prison inmate deaths may be COVID-related


12:17 pm EDT, Tuesday, September 22, 2020

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Four more inmate deaths may be the result of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, the Oklahoma Department of Corrections reported.

The department’s website on Tuesday listed seven inmate deaths as possibly COVID-related, up from three reported a week ago, and that the deaths of three prison staff members may be related to the disease.

Prison spokesperson Justin Wolf has said the cause of deaths is pending autopsies by the state medical examiner. Wolf did not immediately return a phone call for comment Tuesday.

The DOC reported 2,614 inmates have tested positive for the virus and 984 are currently active cases.

More than 1,000 new cases per day have been reported each of the past six days by the Oklahoma State Department of Health, with a statewide total of 79,072 on Tuesday and 962 deaths due to COVID-19, increases of 1,164 cases and 14 more deaths from totals reported on Monday.

The actual number of cases in Oklahoma is likely higher because many people haven’t been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected and not feel sick.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.

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