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3rd correctional officer dies from COVID-19 complications

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A third Florida correctional officer has died from complications of COVID-19, the Florida Department of Corrections confirmed on Wednesday, nine days after the officer died.

Johnnie Brown, a correctional officer who was assigned to the Reception and Medical Center in Lake Butler, began his career with the Florida Department of Corrections in 2006.

“Officer Brown’s loss will be felt by many, his character and contributions as a correctional officer to the Florida Department of Corrections will be remembered by all who worked alongside him each day,” Corrections Secretary Mark Inch said in a statement Wednesday. “We will never forget his commitment to public safety and to the state of Florida.”

Officers who died earlier of COVID-19 were Robert Rogers, who worked at Graceville Work Camp in Jackson County, and Joseph Foster, who worked at Florida Women’s Reception Center in Ocala.

As of midday Wednesday, 15,170 prisoners and 2,340 corrections workers had tested positive for the virus, and 77 inmates had died. Two inmate deaths were confirmed on Wednesday.

Corrections officials said Wednesday that 1,468 corrections workers who had tested positive for the virus have been cleared to return to work.