Florida Inmate COVID-19 Death Toll Reaches 84

Aug 25, 2020

Three Florida inmates died from complications of COVID-19 over the weekend, bringing the death toll among prisoners to 84, according to data released Monday by the state Department of Corrections.

August has been the deadliest month in Florida’s prison system since the start of the pandemic, with 33 inmates and three correctional officers dying of COVID-19. In July, the second deadliest month, 25 inmates died of COVID-19.

As more inmates and workers get sick, Gov. Ron DeSantis’ response has remained focused on testing and isolating symptomatic people.

As of midday Monday, 15,366 inmates and 2,424 corrections workers had tested positive for the virus. Over the weekend, 66 prisoners and 35 workers were diagnosed with the disease.

Corrections and health officials have offered testing to inmates and workers at 49 correctional facilities that have experienced outbreaks. Corrections workers, who can be transmitters of the disease, are encouraged but not required to get tested.

As of last Wednesday, 7,416 workers had been tested for the virus. As of Monday, four prisons - Santa Rosa Correctional Institution, South Florida Reception Center, Everglades Correctional Institution and Dade Correctional Institution - each have had at least 100 workers who have tested positive for the virus.

In July, Dade Correctional began to ask employees to work 12-hour shifts up to six days a week to maintain adequate staffing levels due to the high number of sick workers.

Infections among inmates have also spiked at several prisons within the last month. For example, Columbia Correctional Institution has had 1,338 inmate cases; Lowell Correctional Institution has had 993 cases; Mayo Annex has had 948 cases; and Santa Rosa Correctional Institution has had 806 cases.