An inmate in an Alabama prison who tested positive for COVID-19 has died, the Alabama Department Corrections announced Friday. Two others have tested positive for the virus.
Dave Thomas, 66, a terminally ill man serving a life-sentence at St. Clair Correctional Facility died Thursday after having been taken to a local hospital on April 4. He died less than 24 hours after testing positive for COVID-19, ADOC said in a statement.
“Thomas’ exact cause of death is pending an autopsy. The ADOC extends its sympathies to the Thomas family and his loved ones during this difficult time affecting so many across the world,” ADOC’s statement reads.
A 52-year-old male serving a 17-year sentence for manslaughter at the St. Clair prison also tested positive for the virus and has been transferred to a local hospital for treatment, ADOC said in the statement.
A 33-year-old man serving at the Bullock Correctional Facility also tested positive for COVID-19 and is being treated by doctors, according to the statement.
To date, 57 inmates of the approximately 21,000 in state prisons have been tested for the virus, according to ADOC. Test results were still pending Friday for five inmates.
“Immediately following confirmation of the positive tests among ADOC’s inmate population at St. Clair and Bullock, a rapid response team was deployed to interview and follow up with staff and inmates who may have had direct, prolonged exposure to the positively tested inmates,” ADOC said in the statement.
A group of inmates out of one dormitory at St. Clair have been quarantined, and an entire dormitory at Bullock has also been quarantined.
“The dedicated quarantine zones at each of these facilities are fully operational. Correctional staff and quarantined inmates at St. Clair and Bullock have been provided necessary guidance and health education, as well as appropriate referrals to the Alabama Department of Public Health and other healthcare providers in the event they become symptomatic,” the statement reads.
“In addition to the numerous, system-wide preventative and precautionary measures instituted to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in our facilities, the ADOC has been aggressively preparing for this day, which was an inevitability based on what we are seeing across the country and world,” ADOC Commissioner Jeff Dunn said in a statement. “We’ve planned extensively, we’ve trained thoroughly, and now we are activating the containment strategies outlined in our Pandemic COOP to slow the spread of this virus and ensure we continue to protect all those who live and work in our facilities to the best of our ability.”
Face masks are being given to inmates and staff, and ADOC is looking for “additional hygiene supplies” including hand sanitizer, ADOC said in the statement.
“Inmates also currently have access to liquid antibacterial soap,” ADOC said.