Md. corrections officer dies from COVID-19

Officials didn't identify the corrections officer or say where she worked


By Pamela Wood and Daniel Oyefusi
The Baltimore Sun

BALTIMORE — A correctional officer at a state prison has become the first to die from the coronavirus, according to the union that represents workers at Maryland’s prisons.

The AFSCME union did not identify the officer, who died on Monday. The union also did not say where she worked or provide any details about her case.

A state prison correctional officer has died from COVID-19, according to the AFSCME union. (Photo/Jerry Jackson of Baltimore Sun via TNS)
A state prison correctional officer has died from COVID-19, according to the AFSCME union. (Photo/Jerry Jackson of Baltimore Sun via TNS)

“Our heart goes out to our union sister’s family and loved ones,” said Patrick Moran, president of AFSCME Maryland Council 3.

Moran blamed Gov. Larry Hogan and his administration for the correctional officer’s death. In addition to the guard, eight inmates in the state’s prison system have died of the coronavirus.

“They are continually putting our members and by extension the public at risk," Moran said in a statement. “To this day there are departments and institutions that still have not addressed many of the basics steps that need to happen in order for the state to successfully take on this pandemic and ensure the safety of state employees and those that they serve.”

Hogan’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the officer’s death and Moran’s remarks.

The union has been pressing Hogan for more supplies of protective equipment such as masks and gloves for state workers. A pair of General Assembly committees plan to hold a hearing on the matter Tuesday.

The union also has pushed for the state to provide coronavirus testing to inmates and employees.

Hogan announced universal testing for prison inmates and workers on May 20, but by June 1, widespread testing had only been conducted at the Jessup Correctional Institution, with 1,120 inmates and 381 employees tested, according to data reported by the state. All other state prisons reported no more than a few dozen tests for inmates, and four institutions had not tested a single inmate.

The state prison system has not updated its coronavirus data since June 1, when officials reported 186 positive cases and eight deaths among inmates and 368 positive cases among staff.

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©2020 The Baltimore Sun

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