Nine South Carolina Department of Corrections SCDC inmates have died from COVID-19 complications since May, according to officials. Seven of those deaths have occurred in July.
On Monday, SCDC announced the death of 55-year-old Carl Frazier Good, an inmate at Perry Correctional Institution in Pelzer, South Carolina. He died in a hospital outside of the prison on Sunday.
Good tested positive for coronavirus on July 13. He was hospitalized on July 20, according to a release from SCDC.
South Carolina’s prisons have been hit hard by COVID-19 in recent weeks.
Earlier this month, advocates for South Carolina’s incarcerated inmate population held a rally in Irmo to raise awareness of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on prisoners across the Palmetto State, our founding editor Will Folks reported.
“They are killing these guys,” one prison reform advocate told us.
COVID-19 infections among prisoners have nearly doubled in recent weeks. On July 10, SCDC was reporting a total of 399 inmate infections and 177 staff infections. On July 23, 729 inmates and 252 staff members had tested positive with COVID-19.
At least one SCDC employee has died from COVID-19 complications. On April 12, a non-security staff member at Lee Correctional Institutional, in Bishopville, South Carolina died. At that time, no inmates had tested positive for the virus.
On May 5, a 70-year old inmate named James Slater from Allendale Correctional Institute died from COVID-19 complications. He was the first inmate to die with COVID-19. By May 5, 31 SCDC inmates had tested positive for the virus. Like several of the other inmates who have died from COVID-19 complications, Slater had multiple underlying medical conditions.
On July 15, SCDC ramped up its COVID-19 testing efforts and conducted targeting testing at at Kirkland Correctional Institution and at Tyger River.
Tyger River appears to have the most serious outbreak among South Carolina prisons. In total, 238 inmates at Tyger River inmates have tested positive and 22 of those have recovered.
When SCDC officials conducted targeted testing at Tyger River, infection rates were very high with 78 of the 160 inmates tested were positive in mid-July.
As a part of its mitigation efforts, all inmates and staff were given two reusable masks and living areas in prisons are being cleaned every two hours.
SCDC has suspended visitations, volunteers and work-release programs to limit COVID-19 exposure in prisons.
Nearly 17,000 inmates are incarcerated inside SCDC prisons.
Here are the latest SCDC COVID-19 numbers…
|Assigned ?Locations||?Staff*||?Staff Cleared||?Offenders||?Offenders Cleared|
|?Total Confirmed Cases||252||135||729||194|
At this time, we don’t know how many S.C. inmates are infected in South Carolina jails.
Last week, Orangeburg County administrator Harold Young told FITSNews five officers and two civilian staff members have tested positive for coronavirus. In addition, three officers were in self-isolation after family members have tested positive for the virus.
COVID-19 is running rampant in prisons and jails across the United States, PBS News recently reported.
“Jails and prisons and ICE detention centers, they’re really created, physically, in a manner that promotes the spread of communicable disease. And COVID-19, we know, is very easily spread from people, one person to another,” former chief medical officer of the New York City jail system Dr. Homer Venters told PBS. “And so the close contact that people are in when they’re detained, when they’re in housing areas, other parts of these facilities really promotes the spread between both the people who are detained and staff.”
This news outlet will continue to keep an eye on the status of the coronavirus outbreak behind bars in South Carolina as part of our broader Covid-19 coverage.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Mandy Matney is the news director at FITSNews. She’s an award-winning journalist from Kansas who has worked for newspapers in Missouri, Illinois, and South Carolina before making the switch to FITS. She currently lives on Hilton Head Island where she enjoys beach life. Want to contact Mandy? Send your story ideas, comments, suggestions and tips to [email protected].
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