Inmate dies after testing positive for COVID-19 at Albemarle Correctional Institution

Published 3:32 pm Wednesday, July 15, 2020

By Chris Miller
The Stanly News & Press

BADIN — An inmate at Albemarle Correctional Institution who tested positive for the coronavirus died at the hospital Tuesday as a result of underlying health conditions complicated by the virus, according to John Bull, spokesman for the state’s Department of Public Safety.

“His death is a tragedy, and we are continuing to work hard to handle the impact of COVID-19 in our prisons,” said Todd Ishee, commissioner of prisons. “The health and safety of the staff and the offenders in our custody remains our top priority.”

The offender was hospitalized on July 8. He was tested for COVID-19 and the positive results were received July 11. His condition worsened, and the offender died at the hospital July 14.

Bull said the inmate was a male in his late 50s. Given his family’s right to privacy and the confidentiality of prison offender records, Bull said DPS will not further identify the individual.

This is the first confirmed death of an inmate at ACI due to the virus.

As of Tuesday, of the 773 inmates at ACI who have been tested, 98 of them, or roughly 13%, have contracted the virus, according to offender-related data, which is updated daily on the DPS website.

Bull said at least 17 staff members have also tested positive, though most have returned to work.

Inmates who test positive and exhibit symptoms are taken to single cells for restrictive housing, though they have all the privileges given to inmates in the general population, Bull said. Inmates who test positive but are asymptomatic are placed in a dorm with other offenders who have also tested positive and are asymptomatic.

So far, the COVID-19 outbreak at Albemarle is the third largest in the state prison system, behind only Neuse Correctional Institution in Goldsboro, with 466 cases, and the North Carolina Correctional Institution for Women in Raleigh, with 226 cases.

A total of 1,052 inmates in state prisons across North Carolina have tested positive while six have died.