BURGAW — An inmate at Pender Correctional Institution has died after testing positive for Covid-19, marking the first death of an inmate at a North Carolina state prison.
The inmate died at a hospital as a result of pre-existing health conditions complicated by Covid-19, according to a release from the NC Department of Public Safety. His death also marks Pender County’s first official death related to Covid-19.
“Any death is a tragedy, and we must continue our efforts to do all we can to try and flatten the curve of COVID-19 in Prisons,” Commissioner of Prisons Todd Ishee said. “The health and safety of the staff and the men and women in our custody is of paramount importance.”
After the inmate showed symptoms of a viral infection on April 8, he was isolated from other inmates and then tested positive for Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
“The test came back positive on April 10. Despite constant medical attention, he was hospitalized on April 13. His condition worsened, and the offender died at the hospital on April 21,” according to the release.
The inmate was in his late fifties and had underlying health conditions. The Department of Public Safety would not identify the man, citing his family’s right to privacy and the confidentiality of prison offender records.
“Prison leadership has taken a substantial number of actions throughout the North Carolina prison system to try to prevent transmission of the virus. Those actions, along with offender testing information that is updated daily, are found here: DPS Action for Prisons,” according to the release.
On Monday, Pender County announced there were four cases of Covid-19 at the facility, causing the state’s Division of Prison Facilities to implement measures to contain and reduce the spread in the close confines of the prison facility.
Such measures include the provision of additional personal protective equipment (PPE) to prison staff and the suspension of visitation and outside work assignments.