A correctional sergeant at Valley State Prison in Chowchilla has become the eighth state prison employee to die of COVID-19, authorities said.
Sgt. Seeyengkee Ly, 38, died Aug. 2, according to a statement released by the California Correctional Peace Officers Assn. He spent more than 17 years with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and served at several prison facilities.
“Seeyengkee accomplished a lot in his life,” wrote his sister, Mor Ly, on a GoFundMe page set up for the officer. “He was an exceptional son, hard working father, wonderful husband, an awesome friend to everyone, and a tough big brother.”
Ly was diagnosed with COVID-19 about four weeks ago, his sister said, and died from complications of pneumonia after two weeks on a ventilator.
According to the Department of Corrections, 1,927 prison employees have tested positive for the virus, including more than 40 at the two facilities in Chowchilla.
The virus has run rampant in the state prison population, and the Corrections Department is preparing to release thousands of prisoners by the end of August in an attempt to stop the spread. To date, 1,251 inmates have been infected with the virus, and 51 have died.
In a statement, the peace officers association president, Glen Stailey, expressed condolences to Ly’s family.
"He will be remembered for his life and service," Stailey said. "His ultimate sacrifice is a reminder of the challenges faced by all of those who choose to walk the line behind prison walls."
Ly is survived by his wife and four children, three siblings and his parents.