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Third inmate dies after testing positive for COVID-19

An 80-year-old man serving a life sentence at the St. Clair Correctional Facility died this morning after testing positive for COVID-19. 

Clarence Shepherd died in the medical isolation area in St. Clair prison, according to a press release from the Alabama Department of Corrections. 

Shepherd is the third state inmate to have died after testing positive for the virus. 

Shepard was tested on May 27 after exhibiting symptoms of coronavirus, and was transferred to a local hospital for treatment after those test results came back positive on May 29, according to the release. He also had multiple, chronic debilitating diseases, according to the department. 

Shepherd’s exact cause of death is pending an autopsy. The infirmary at St. Clair remains on level-one quarantine, meaning inmates are checked for symptoms and have temperatures taken twice daily. There have been 10 confirmed cases among inmates, and three among staff at St. Clair prison. 

The number of confirmed cases among prison staff continues to outpace cases among inmates. 

A worker at the Bibb Correctional Facility, an employee at the St. Clair Correctional Facility, two workers at the  Staton Correctional Facility and one at the Limestone Correctional Facility have all self-reported confirmed COVID-19 cases, according to the release Friday. 

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In total, 119 prison workers and 28 inmates have tested positive for COVID-19. Ninety cases among staff and 15 among inmates remain active. Just 229 of Alabama’s approximately 22,000 inmates have been tested for the virus. 

Shepard was serving life without parole for a Jefferson County murder conviction in 1972, according to court records. He was arrested in 1965 for the crime, according to those records.

Eddie Burkhalter is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can email him at [email protected] or reach him via Twitter.

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