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Two inmates die of coronavirus as number of cases in Maryland prisons tops 1,000 since pandemic began

Two Maryland inmates died from COVID-19 late last month, bringing the total number of inmate coronavirus deaths to 13, according to the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services. More than 1,000 inmates have contracted the virus since March.

Two correctional workers have died, according to the department, and 808 guards, correctional staff and contract workers have tested have tested positive for the virus.

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The department said Monday that a man in his early 60s who had been housed at the Roxbury Correctional Institution died Oct. 26, while a man in his 50s at the Maryland Correctional Institution also died last month. Both facilities are in Hagerstown.

The man in his 50s had “serious medical conditions” and was hospitalized prior to his death, a state spokesman said.

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Roxbury Correctional has logged 165 confirmed cases, the most of any facility in the state, the department said. A total of 1,033 inmates have contracted the virus systemwide.

A department spokesman, Mark Vernarelli, said Monday that Maryland’s prisons have “maintained” better health outcomes compared with neighboring states.

“The department continues to restrict outside visitors and limits activities. Facilities are regularly deep cleaned, and there is ongoing testing of employees, inmates and detainees,” Vernarelli said. “Additionally, COVID teams meet on a daily basis to monitor conditions, equipment and trends.”

Universal testing for the coronavirus is ongoing, Vernarelli said, with more than 1,000 tests conducted weekly.

The non-profit Marshall Project, which specializes in prison and criminal justice issues, said Maryland ranks 23rd in the number of cases per 10,000 inmates, out of 38 states it tracks.

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