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CORONAVIRUS CRISIS

Nash prison reports 2 virus deaths; 15% of inmates have active cases

Posted on February 22, 2021

Local newsTop newsCOVID-19
Inmates play basketball at Nash Correctional Institution in April, weeks after such recreational activities were to be suspended to fight the spread of COVID-19.

Lindell J. Kay | Enterprise file photo

Inmates play basketball at Nash Correctional Institution in April, weeks after such recreational activities were to be suspended to fight the spread of COVID-19.

lkay@springhopeenterprise.com | 252-265-8117

MOMEYER — Two inmates at Nash Correctional Institution died last week after testing positive for the novel coronavirus. 

Both male inmates had existing health problems and died in a hospital. The first to die, a man in his early 70s, tested positive for COVID-19 on Feb. 8 and was hospitalized the next day. He died Feb. 15.

The second inmate to die last week, man in his early 60s, tested positive Jan. 22, said John Bull, spokesman for the N.C. Department of Public Safety.

“He was hospitalized on Jan. 31,” Bull said. “His condition worsened, and he died on Feb. 17.”

The Nash prison has 92 active COVID-19 cases, which represents 15% of the prison population. More than 600 inmates have been tested, yielding 488 positive results and 174 negative results. More than 300 inmates are presumed to have recovered from the virus, according to information provided by the state last week.

“We are continuing our extensive efforts to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 in our prisons. The health and safety of the staff and the offender population is our top priority,” Commissioner of Prisons Todd Ishee said in a Thursday news release.    

Bull said inmates whose deaths are linked to COVID-19 won’t be identified due to prison record confidentiality and family privacy issues. 

The N.C. Division of Adult Corrections leadership has taken more than four dozen actions throughout the entire prison system to prevent the virus’ spread, Bull said.

Actions include a program to encourage COVID-19 vaccination by offering incentives to eligible inmates. 

“The one-time incentives include five days of sentence credits, four additional visits with clergy or regular visitors, one phone call and an earlier return to job or program,” according to the Department of Public Safety website. 

Visit the shortened link https://bit.ly/2LYXpIM to review the state prison system’s full list of COVID-19 mitigation efforts.  

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