Mass. Inmate Dies While Being Treated for Coronavirus

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A Massachusetts inmate who was being treated for coronavirus has died, authorities announced Thursday night.

The Massachusetts Department of Correction said a man in his 50s who had underlying health conditions was undergoing treatment at a hospital for COVID-19 when he died.

It was the first coronavirus-related fatality of a prisoner in Massachusetts.

The man was not identified due to HIPAA regulations, but officials said he had been incarcerated since 1993 and was at the Massachusetts Treatment Center since 2018.

"The health of incarcerated individuals, staff, visitors and volunteers is of utmost importance to the department as we continue to take unprecedented steps to prevent COVID-19 introduction and transmission," the Department of Correction said in a statement. "DOC leadership, staff, and our contracted medical provider, Wellpath, are focused on reducing, to the greatest degree possible, the potential impact of this virus on our approximately 8,000 inmates."

The department noted that the inmate's next of kin had been notified and that he was quarantined immediately after becoming symptomatic.

The man was at the hospital for 10 days as his condition declined, the department added.

"We are very distressed to hear the news of the first death from COVID-19 of an incarcerated person in Massachusetts," Prisoners' Legal Services said in a statement. "We very much hope that his death and the current suffering of all the other prisoners, correctional officers, and medical staff struggling with  COVID-19 in the Commonwealth today propel swift and meaningful action to release people who can safely live in their communities. Such action must happen as immediately as possible to be effective and to minimize future deaths."

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