Another inmate dies as coronavirus continues to spread in Florida prisons

Another Florida inmate has died from complications of COVID-19, increasing the total to 50, according to data released Friday by the state Department of Corrections.

State officials did not say immediately where the inmate who died was housed.

Friday’s death was the 26th inmate fatality recorded in July because of the pandemic. By comparison, nine inmates died in June.

As of mid-day Friday, 8,126 inmates had tested positive for COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus.

The virus has had a severe impact on facilities in the state prison system, which houses roughly 87,700 inmates.

For example, Columbia Correctional Institution near Lake City on Friday reported 1,300 inmate cases, which is roughly 60% of the facility’s prison population.

Other correctional facilities that have experienced significant COVID-19 outbreaks among inmates include Santa Rosa Correctional Institution, with 740 cases; Lowell Correctional Institution, with 744 cases; and Graceville Correctional Facility, with 655 cases.

As the virus continues to spread in state prisons, 1,675 of the Florida Department of Corrections’ roughly 24,000 employees have also tested positive. Two prisons -- South Florida Reception Center and Dade Correctional Institution -- each have more than 100 workers who tested positive for COVID-19, according to data reported by the Department of Corrections on Friday.

At Dade Correctional, where 148 workers have tested positive for the virus, officials have launched emergency plans that require employees to work 12-hour shifts for up to six days a week to maintain adequate staffing levels.