W.Va. records first inmate death believed related to COVID-19

Covid-19 infections in prisons

CHARLESTON, WV (WOAY)- An inmate from the South Central Regional Jail died early Friday while at an outside hospital, and the preliminary assessment from health officials attributes the cause to complications from COVID-19.

The 40-year Wood County man was being held on federal charges. He had underlying medical conditions and tested positive for COVID-19 within the past week while at the hospital. His is the first death linked to COVID-19 of an inmate ordered to a W.Va. Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation facility since the state confirmed its first case on March 17.

The inmate had tested negative in the second round of enhanced testing at South Central, conducted Aug. 12, as had nearly 450 other inmates and more than 80 employees. That facility had seven active and 57 recovered inmate cases as of Thursday, with 13 inmate tests pending. Among employees, the jail had one active case with six others listed as recovered and two tests pending.

DCR has since conducted a second round of enhanced testing at the Mount Olive Correctional Complex. That facility-wide testing began Aug. 23, finishing with employees Wednesday and completing the remaining housing units Friday. So far, 162 inmates and 115 staff have tested negative. As of Friday morning, Mount Olive had 31 active inmate and 13 active staff cases

DCR has been in communication with state and local health officials as well as federal prosecutors and the U.S. Marshals Service regarding Friday’s death. DCR continues to post testing updates daily on the Correctional Facilities page of West Virginia’s main website for its COVID-19 response, coronavirus.wv.gov.