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Utah inmate, 86, becomes 11th to die after testing positive for COVID-19

A guard tower at the Utah State Prison on Monday, Sept. 14, 2020. State and local officials make an announcement regarding the launch of planning efforts to redevelop the Utah State Prison in Draper. “The Point” is the newly established name for this 700 acres of state-owned property.
A guard tower at the Utah State Prison on Monday, Sept. 14, 2020.
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — An 11th inmate at the Utah State Prison has died after testing positive for COVID-19, according to the Utah Department of Corrections.

The man, who was 86 years old, died in the infirmary at the prison’s Draper site on Sunday, the Corrections Department said on its website. He is the oldest of the 11 deceased, with earlier deaths among those ranging in age from 48 to 82.

The prison said the man had been hospitalized prior to his death but did not provide further detail on the medical care he received.

A total of 964 inmates are considered to have active cases of COVID-19 amid outbreaks at the prison’s Draper and Gunnison sites, according to numbers from Monday, the most recent available.

The prison is on a modified lockdown, the Corrections Department said, meaning that out-of-cell time is limited in buildings where outbreaks have occurred.

Some inmates and their family members have voiced frustration with how prison officials have handled the outbreaks. They have said medical care inside the prison is scarce and have criticized the repeated relocation of inmates, saying the moves unnecessarily exposed inmates to the virus.

Prison officials have said their staff provides round-the-clock care and they are proud of employees’ dedication to treating inmates.

The Corrections Department said it has worked closely with state and county health officials to test and separate inmates who test positive from those who don’t have the virus.