COVID-19 cases, deaths continue to climb in Florida prisons

Three more Florida inmates have died from complications of COVID-19, bringing the total number of prisoner deaths to 49, according to data released by the state Department of Corrections on Thursday.

The inmate death toll has doubled since June 30, when 24 inmate deaths were recorded. July has proven to be the deadliest month in Florida’s prison system since the start of the pandemic, with 25 inmates dying since July 1. By comparison, nine inmates died in June.

As of mid-Thursday, 9,501 inmates and corrections workers had tested positive for COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus.

As the virus continues to rapidly spread in Florida prisons, several correctional facilities are experiencing major outbreaks. For example, Columbia Correctional Institution in Lake City on Thursday recorded 1,299 inmate cases and four inmate deaths.

The virus has infected roughly 60 percent of the inmate population at the North Florida, according to figures provided by corrections officials.

Other correctional facilities experiencing significant COVID-19 outbreaks among inmates include Santa Rosa Correctional Institution, with 740 cases; Lowell Correctional Institution, with 629 cases; and Graceville Correctional Facility, with 655 cases.

As of Thursday, corrections and health officials have conducted 45,781 tests on inmates, including 7,875 prisoners who have tested positive. Officials reported Thursday that results of 3,281 tests are pending.

The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.