First Offender in State Prison Custody Dies of COVID-19

Last Updated on April 22, 2020 12:33 pm

RALEIGH –  An offender housed at Pender Correctional Institution who tested positive for COVID-19 has died at the hospital as a result of pre-existing conditions complicated by COVID-19. This is the first coronavirus death of an individual in custody at a North Carolina state prison. 

“Any death is a tragedy, and we must continue our efforts to do all we can to try and flatten the curve of COVID-19 in Prisons,” said Todd Ishee, Commissioner of Prisons. “The health and safety of the staff and the men and women in our custody is of paramount importance.”

The offender exhibited symptoms of a viral infection on April 8, 2020. He was promptly isolated from the population, in keeping with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the NC Department of Health and Human Services, and tested for COVID-19. The test came back positive on April 10, 2020. Despite constant medical attention, he was hospitalized on April 13, 2020. His condition worsened, and the offender died at the hospital on April 21, 2020. 

The offender was a male in his late fifties and had underlying health conditions. Given his family’s right to privacy and the confidentiality of prison offender records, the Department of Public Safety will not further identify the individual. 

Prisons leadership has taken a substantial number of actions throughout the North Carolina prison system to try to prevent transmission of the virus.  Those actions, along with offender testing information that is updated daily, are found here: DPS Action for Prisons

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