Prison

Two more Florida prisoners have died of complications related to COVID-19, bringing the death toll among state prisoners to seven, according to a report issued by the Florida Department of Corrections on Thursday, April 30.

The state agency did not identify the two prisoners or the correctional facility in which they were housed.

Five other inmates, whose ages ranged from 65 to 84, died of COVID-19 earlier in April. The five prisoners were inmates at Blackwater River Correctional Facility, a Santa Rosa County prison operated by The Geo Group Inc.

As the virus continues to spread within Florida’s prison system, 208 inmates and 146 corrections workers throughout the state have tested positive for COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

A total of 615 Florida inmates have been tested for the virus, according to Thursday's report. Forty-six percent of the 445 prisoners whose test results are final have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, the latest report said.

The high rate of positive tests “suggests a significant number of infected but untested people in Florida prisons,” Greg Newburn, the Florida director of Families Against Mandatory Minimums, wrote in a letter to Department of Corrections Secretary Mark Inch on Wednesday.

Officials said that 145 corrections workers have tested positive for COVID-19 as of Thursday, but the agency has repeatedly refused to release the total number of prison employees who have undergone testing. Corrections officials maintain they are taking many measures to halt the spread of the virus within the prison system, which has 145 facilities, roughly 94,000 inmates and 23,000 workers.

The latest action came Thursday, when officials announced they are extending the cancellation of prison visitation through May 17.

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