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Inmate death at Lakeland Correctional increases urgency of fears over COVID-19 spread

Lakeland Correctional Facility sign
Lester Graham
Michigan Radio

A second inmate in a Michigan prison has died of COVID-19

This death is an urgent concern, say advocates.  That's because it happened in a prison that houses many elderly inmates with chronic health conditions.  

The Michigan Department of Corrections says the inmate at Lakeland Correctional in Coldwater was taken to the hospital after testing positive for COVID-19, where he died on April 7. 

The department says it has been working to limit the spread of the illness among an unusually vulnerable population.  Inmates stay in their dorm areas most of the time now, surfaces are being cleaned with bleach, and inmates have cloth face masks. 

But there's still a lot of opportunity for the virus to spread, especially when a unit - which contains 160 people - goes to the chow hall and the yard together to eat and exercise.  

As of April 7, 33 inmates and 12 staff at Lakeland have confirmed COVID-19 infection. 

262 inmates and 118 staff at Michigan prisons overall have tested positive for COVID-19, with two inmate deaths so far and two staff member deaths.

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Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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