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Florida inmate COVID-19 cases, deaths continue to rise

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – More than 1,000 inmates tested positive for COVID-19 over the weekend, and nine prisoners died from complications of the disease, according to data released Monday by the state Department of Corrections.

The count of positive cases among inmates jumped from 5,158 on Friday to 6,217 on Monday, an increase that shows how the coronavirus has continued to spread across Florida’s prison system.

As of noon Monday, according to the Florida Department of Corrections, Columbia Correctional Institution had 1,153 inmate cases -- up 57 from noon Friday -- and 56 corrections workers who had tested positive -- up four from Friday.

Hundreds of new cases have popped up at Santa Rosa Correctional Institution, Franklin Correctional Institution and Graceville Correctional Facility in recent days. Combined, the three prisons had 1,046 inmate cases on Monday. By comparison, the three prisons had 152 inmate cases on Thursday.

In addition to the increases in new cases, corrections officials also reported Monday that nine additional inmates have died from complications of COVID-19. The new deaths bring the total inmate death toll to 46, including three at Columbia Correctional Institution.

As of mid-Monday, the Florida Department of Health had not disclosed where a dozen inmates died.

On Wednesday, the department reported 34 inmates had died at 11 prisons.

The number of corrections workers who have tested positive for the virus also went up from 1,318 on Friday to 1,417 on Monday.

As of midday Monday, corrections and health officials had conducted 43,272 tests on inmates, with 4,674 tests results pending.

News4Jax contributed to this report.