54-year-old Vaughn inmate is first COVID-19 death during latest virus surge at prisons
A 54-year-old inmate at James T. Vaughn Correctional Center died Tuesday due to complications from COVID-19 and other illnesses, Delaware's Department of Correction announced Wednesday.
Prison officials said Jose Rivera, a Wilmington native, tested positive for the virus on Dec. 5 after displaying symptoms. That same day, he was admitted to Bayhealth Hospital, Kent Campus.
He was placed on a ventilator on Dec. 16, according to the prison, and died Tuesday evening.
Rivera, who suffered from asthma and other conditions, is the 12th DOC inmate to die after a positive COVID-19 test and first during the recent surge in cases at the department's facilities after 3½ months without a virus-related death.
In total, nearly 1 in 4 prisoners who have spent at least three weeks in Delaware prisons since April have tested positive for the virus.
Prison officials said there are 262 inmates with an active COVID-19 infection. The department says 90% of them have no symptoms.
Twenty-seven inmates are dealing with symptoms and 13 are hospitalized, DOC said.
Of the recent infections across the system, 752 inmates are listed as being recovered from the virus since the November clusters were first identified and 1,302 have recovered in total since April.
The latest virus outbreak is not limited to prisoners, though.
As of Tuesday, 120 DOC and contracted staff members were infected with the coronavirus. More than 400 employees have recovered since April.
Statewide, hospitalizations reached another pandemic high Tuesday night, with 454 people in the hospital due to complications from COVID-19. Officials on Tuesday urged Delawareans to avoid large holiday gatherings.
Contact Jeff Neiburg at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Jeff_Neiburg.