A non-violent 77-year-old inmate at State Correctional Institution Fayette in Pennsylvania died from COVID-19, Your Content has learned.
The 77-year-old inmate, whose name will not be provided and who had underlying medical conditions, died at a local hospital. He was serving a sentence of 23½ to 47 years for forgery. He had been at SCI Fayette since March 2013.
“We continue our battle against this dangerous invisible enemy,” Corrections Secretary John Wetzel said. “With fall upon us, we are experiencing a resurgence. That is why it is vital to continue our aggressive mitigation efforts. We cannot let our guard down.”
The rate of state prison inmate deaths with COVID is lower than Pennsylvania long term care facilities. A Council on Criminal Justice December 2020 report shows PA DOC as being one of six states that has fewer deaths than expected given statewide rates: https://cdn.ymaws.com/counciloncj.org/resource/resmgr/covid_commission/COVID-19_in_State_and_Federa.pdf.
SCI Fayette reports 3 active inmate cases and 26 active staff cases. Inmates who have tested positive are in isolation at the prison or local hospitals, depending on the level of medical care required. Employees who have tested positive must isolate at their homes and cannot return to work until they provide a doctor’s note clearing them to return.
“We are experiencing the same thing that our counties are experiencing, and we are following very strict procedures to mitigate the virus’ impact on our state prisons,” Wetzel said. “I’ve directed our staff to act aggressively and quickly when inmates report influenza-like illnesses, and that includes isolating and quarantining inmates, locking down units or entire prisons as needed, conducting regular cleanings and even 72-hour deep cleanings in order to protect staff and inmates.”