Oregon Inmates are Dying from COVID-19

A total of twelve Oregon prison inmates have died after testing positive for COVID-19, according to the Oregon Department of Corrections. The most recent fatalities were two men, one aged 75 to 85 and one aged 65 to 75. Both men were in serving time in the Snake River Correctional Institution in Ontario, Ore., based on an Oct. 6 report from KIVITV. 

According to KOIN 6, officials have said an official cause of death for some inmates has yet to be determined. Previous in-custody deaths were identified publicly, though cause of death was withheld. DOC officials told KOIN 6 they could not release any identifying information if they disclose health information, citing federal privacy laws. 

Prison policy says employees and inmates are required to wear masks if they cannot maintain social distancing. According to KOIN 6, cleaning and disinfecting regimens were stepped up, and staff are screened for health concerns before work, including a temperature check and questionnaire. Visiting remains closed. 

Of the more than 14,000 Oregon inmates, 1,006 have tested positive for COVID-19 and 884 have recovered. Among prison staff, there have been 263 diagnoses and 243 recoveries.  

The Oregon Health Authority announced 360 new suspected or confirmed cases and eight new deaths linked to COVID-19 on Saturday, Oct. 3. New modeling suggests that the spread of the illness is likely to rise in coming months. 

By Cody Mann