Third Connecticut inmate dies of COVID-19 since Jan. 1

Zach Murdock, Hartford Courant

Another Connecticut inmate died Friday of COVID-19 complications, becoming the third incarcerated to person to die since the start of the new year and the 16th since the pandemic began.

The 57-year-old man died Saturday after he was transferred a week earlier from the Bridgeport Correctional Center to an outside hospital for treatment, according to the Department of Correction.

The man had been held in the state prison system since early September pending transfer to a federal prison, but DOC officials did not identify him publicly, citing medical privacy rules.

The man was the third inmate to die of the virus in just over a week to start 2021 as deaths continue to mount across Connecticut during a second wave of the virus that began in the fall. More inmates have now died during that second wave of the virus than died during the frightening initial cascade of cases and deaths that gripped the entire state last spring.

Another 129 offenders currently positive for COVID-19 and experiencing symptoms and another 310 are positive but asymptomatic across 11 facilities, according to the department’s online dashboard. Another 281 staff members are currently “recovering” from the virus, an increase of 36 since Friday.

Sixteen other offenders were hospitalized with the virus as of Friday, per the dashboard.

State vaccine officials have recommended that incarcerated people be included in the subgroups to receive their doses in next phase of vaccinations, which could begin with elderly residents as early as this week.

Activists and inmates’ families have pushed Gov. Ned Lamont to do more, however, protesting at the Capitol and demanding he issue an executive order to release certain inmates to stem the spread of the virus in the inherently congregate living conditions of state correctional facilities.

Zach Murdock can be reached at zmurdock@courant.com.