Florida inmate COVID-19 deaths up to 184

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – An additional four Florida prison inmates have died of COVID-19, while state officials said they have taken steps after a surge in coronavirus cases at a Panhandle prison.

The Department of Corrections said Thursday on its website that the deaths of 184 inmates have been linked to COVID-19, up from 180 reported last week.

It was not immediately clear where the deaths occurred. Meanwhile, the department said Tuesday it has taken additional steps after more than 300 inmates have tested positive for COVID-19 at Walton Correctional Institution.

As of Thursday morning, 318 inmates at the prison were reported to have tested positive and were in medical isolation.

In a news release Tuesday, the department said it is taking steps such as providing medical services and meals to inmates within their housing units, conducting temperature checks each day and temporarily suspending inmate transfers to and from the facility.

“The great majority of inmates at Walton CI who have tested positive presented mild or no symptoms of the virus when they were tested,” the news release said. “All inmates continue to be provided with ongoing medical care and monitoring by facility health care professionals who follow CDC (federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) guidelines for the prevention, evaluation, treatment and management of COVID-19.”

As of Thursday morning, 16,969 inmates and 3,586 corrections workers statewide had tested positive for COVID-19 since the pandemic began.