Since Saturday Jan. 16th, five inmates in Oregon prisons have died with COVID-19 as the suspected cause. Four were from Two Rivers Correctional Institution in Umatilla, while the fifth was from Deer Ridge in Madras. The inmate death toll in the Oregon Department of corrections stands at 33.
The Oregon Department of Corrections disclosed that all of the inmates, who were between 55 and 85 years of age, died in local hospitals. The ODC does not release any information that could be used to identify people who die from the coronavirus.
Since the pandemic began, at least 32 people have died in custody of Oregon prisons, with no less than 10 of the deaths happening this month.
At the beginning of December, several inmates who tested positive for the virus were transferred from Deer Ridge prison to Two Rivers medical isolation unit because of the growing number of cases at Deer Ridge. The officials from the ODC said the inmates were kept separate. However, after the transfers from Deer Ridge the number of cases increased significantly.
As of right now, no Benton county jail inmates have tested positive for the virus.
Benton county is at “extreme risk” according to the Risk and Protection Framework that replaced the categories of “re-opening phases” and the “watch list” as of Jan. 15.
By: Hannah Ramsey