Inmate in Parchman dies; tests results show inmate had novel coronavirus

After showing COVID-19 symptoms, the inmate was put in isolation and tested for the virus. Later, the inmate was pronounced dead.

Inmate in Parchman dies; tests results show inmate had novel coronavirus
(Source: Raycom images)

JACKSON, Miss. (WLOX) - An inmate in the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman tested positive for the novel coronavirus, and the prison is taking extra precautions to prevent the spread of the virus, according to the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC).

In a statement released from MDOC, they said that the inmate had preexisting medical conditions and began showing COVID-19 symptoms, prompting staff to perform a coronavirus test as well as put the inmate in isolation.

The inmate later passed away, and the test results came in after the death. MDOC has not yet confirmed if the inmate passed away due to the coronavirus.

“We are committed to protecting the health and well-being of all within our system,” Interim Commissioner Tommy Taylor said. “Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, our facilities have been under quarantine with restricted transfers, no visitations other than attorneys, and daily screening of facility staff. With this first positive case, we have further isolated all the affected areas and increased screenings for all the inmates who came in contact with the individual. Inmates who came in close contact with the positive individual have been provided with masks.”

MDOC also noted that the locations where inmates are undergoing quarantine are monitored two times a day, verifying if any inmates are exhibiting any symptoms. Areas that are frequently touched will also be cleaned and sanitized regularly such as workstations, countertops, doorknobs, light switches, handrails and computer keyboards.

“The inmates under quarantine are not on lockdown, but they are not going to work or school,” Taylor said. “We are letting inmates know we are concerned about their health and will continue to make adjustments in our protocols as needed to ensure their safety.”

In addition, she said that MDOC continues to work with the Governor’s Office, the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), and the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) to protect public health.

The department remains in regular contact with the MSDH to ensure recommended health guidelines are being implemented. The department’s testing guidelines for inmates are the same as for the general public... The department is continuing to emphasize recommended guidelines for hygiene and social distancing from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and MSDH. Other previously announced preventive measures in place include daily screening of staff; suspended intra-transfer of inmates; suspended visitation, except for attorney visits; and increased sanitization following those visits.
Mississippi Department of Corrections

Copyright 2020 WLOX. All rights reserved.