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Kansas prison system reports 16th inmate fatality tied to COVID-19

By: - March 11, 2021 11:31 am
The Kansas Department of Corrections reported the 16th inmate fatality during the COVID-19 pandemic. The latest death was at Winfield Correctional Facility. (Alex Potemkin/Getty Images)

The Kansas Department of Corrections reported the 16th inmate fatality during the COVID-19 pandemic. The latest death was at Winfield Correctional Facility. (Alex Potemkin/Getty Images)

TOPEKA — The Kansas Department of Corrections said Thursday the 16th inmate in the state prison system died after testing positive for COVID-19.

Six of the state’s facilities have endured inmate fatalities during the pandemic, while five employees of the agency assigned to three of the corrections department’s facilities have died. More than 6,000 inmates have tested positive for COVID-19 along with more than 1,200 employees of the system’s 10 facilities.

Corrections officials said a 57-year-old male inmate at Winfield Correctional Facility died Tuesday. The inmate, serving a 130-month sentence for possession and distribution of drugs, tested positive for coronavirus Feb. 3 and admitted to a hospital Feb. 13. It was the second death related to the coronavirus at Winfield.

The Winfield facility has logged two inmate deaths and more than 400 positive tests for the virus. The hotspots with more than 1,000 cases of COVID-19 among prisoners have been Hutchinson Correctional Facility with 1,300, Lansing Correctional Facility with 1,000 and El Dorado Correctional Facility with more than 900 cases.

The prisons at El Dorado, Hutchinson, Lansing, Norton and Topeka have had in excess of 100 cases of COVID-19 among employees.

In terms of active cases of COVID-19, the corrections department reported a dozen among employees and more than two dozen among inmates.

 

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Tim Carpenter
Tim Carpenter

Tim Carpenter has reported on Kansas for 35 years. He covered the Capitol for 16 years at the Topeka Capital-Journal and previously worked for the Lawrence Journal-World and United Press International. He has been recognized for investigative reporting on Kansas government and politics. He won the Kansas Press Association's Victor Murdock Award six times. The William Allen White Foundation honored him four times with its Burton Marvin News Enterprise Award. The Kansas City Press Club twice presented him its Journalist of the Year Award and more recently its Lifetime Achievement Award. He earned an agriculture degree at Kansas State University and grew up on a small dairy and beef cattle farm in Missouri. He is an amateur woodworker and drives Studebaker cars.

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