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Alaska News

5th Alaska inmate dies with COVID-19 as prisons grapple with outbreaks

  • Author: Tess Williams
  • Updated: December 27, 2020
  • Published December 27, 2020

An inmate of Goose Creek Correctional Center died Saturday from COVID-19 complications, the Alaska Department of Corrections said Sunday.

The 76-year-old man was taken to the Mat-Su Regional Medical Center on Nov. 30 — nearly a month before his death, the department said in a statement. His name was not released.

It was not immediately clear if the man suffered from underlying health conditions which may have made him more vulnerable to the virus.

He had been in custody since 2013 and had been convicted of first- and second-degree sexual abuse of a minor, according to the statement.

This is the fifth inmate to die of COVID-19 in Alaska, and the fourth to die at Goose Creek Correctional Center, the state’s largest prison, which is located in Point Mackenzie.

Prisons in Alaska and across the country have battled COVID-19 outbreaks that underscore the challenges of containing the virus in congregate living conditions. Health officials in Alaska said recently that an outbreak at Goose Creek Correctional was the largest discrete outbreak of the pandemic in the state.

As of Dec. 22, 1,905 inmates in Alaska had tested positive for COVID-19, according to the corrections department’s COVID-19 tracker. A majority of the inmates have contracted the virus as a result of transmission within the facility. Another 950 inmates were awaiting test results. Current COVID-19 case numbers for Alaska’s prisons were not immediately available.

Across the country, at least 276,235 inmates had contracted the virus by mid December, according to The Marshall Project. At least 1,738 of them have died.

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