5 more Florida inmates die from COVID-19 complications

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Five more Florida inmates have died from complications of COVID-19, bringing the death toll among prisoners to 70, according to data released Tuesday by the state Department of Corrections.

As the virus continues to spread rapidly in the prison system, July and August have been the deadliest months since the start of the pandemic. The disease has killed 45 inmates since July 1, 20 of whom died in the last two weeks, according to corrections officials. Two corrections officers also have died this month from complications of COVID-19, according to corrections officials and the Florida Police Benevolent Association, a union that represents officers.

The number of prisoners and corrections workers who have tested positive for the virus has also continued to grow.

The virus has even infected top-ranking officials in the department. Corrections Secretary Mark Inch and Deputy Secretary Ricky Dixon were diagnosed with the disease in early August.

The department, which oversees roughly 87,700 inmates and approximately 24,000 employees, reported Tuesday that 12,988 prisoners and 2,078 corrections workers had tested positive for the virus. Tuesday’s data showed an increase of 584 COVID-19 cases since Monday.