Second man with COVID-19 dies at Sussex prison that had major outbreak

Sussex Correctional Institution (State of Delaware)

Sussex Correctional Institution (State of Delaware)

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As of Wednesday, the state reported 15,296 cases of coronavirus and 587 related deaths. A total of 47 patients are currently hospitalized, four of them in critical condition.

A second inmate with coronavirus has died at the Sussex County men’s prison where more than one-third of the population was infected in the last month, officials said Wednesday.

Jackie R. Lovett, 71, died from complications from hypothyroidism and COVID-19, Department of Correction spokesman said.

Lovett tested positive on July 5 — four days after the outbreak began at Sussex Correctional Institution in Georgetown.  Once his symptoms developed, he was initially transferred to a coronavirus treatment unit at the larger James T. Vaughn Correctional Center near Smyrna. He was taken to Bayhealth Hospital in Dover on July 14, and was pronounced dead there Wednesday about 3 a.m.

Lovett, a native of Salisbury, Maryland, was serving two life sentences for first-degree murder and possession of a deadly weapon.

Lovett’s death is the ninth of a Delaware prisoner from coronavirus-related causes.

It comes just two days after prison officials announced that more than 90 percent of the 370 incarcerated men who caught COVID-19 at the Sussex prison have recovered. A total of 29 still have active cases, with seven showing symptoms. Two of the men are currently hospitalized.

The other incarcerated man who died was 78 and had underlying heart conditions, officials said.

A total of 18 Sussex staff members are also currently infected, Miller said.

In addition, all 20 men who caught COVID-19 at the Morris violation of probation and substance abuse treatment facility in Dover have recovered. That smaller outbreak originated with three men who were transferred to Morris from Sussex Correctional Institution in Georgetown.

Most were diagnosed after officials decided to test every man and conduct daily symptom checks. The men and staffers are now required to wear facemasks.

Follow-up testing is also being conducted on individuals who initially tested negative.

In the early stages of the pandemic, officials identified 148 cases, mostly at Vaughn prison, and seven of those men died.

By late May, the state declared that all prisons were COVID-19 free, but then the Sussex outbreak struck on July 1.

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