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Inmate dies at Snake River Correctional Institution after testing positive for COVID-19

The Medical Examiner will determine the cause of death. It is not clear if the man died of complications due to the virus.
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Fence outside of a jail

MALHEUR COUNTY, Ore. — An adult in custody at the Snake River Correctional Institution died on August 12 after testing positive for COVID-19.

The man was between the ages of 60 and 70. It is not clear if he died of complications from COVID-19 or another reason. As with all in-custody deaths, the Oregon State Police has been notified and the Medical Examiner will determine the man’s cause of death.

The Oregon Department of Corrections (DOC) is responsible for the care and custody of 14,200 adults across 14 institutions.

According to a release from DOC, institutions “continue to clean and disinfect numerous times a day.”

However, correctional facilities across Oregon continue to lead in the number of infections in the state’s weekly reported workplace outbreaks. Additionally, Malheur County, where Snake River Correctional Institution is located, will return to Phase 1 of reopening due to a surge in cases.

There have been 176 cases tied to the Snake River Correctional Institution according to the Oregon Health Authority's (OHA) report for the week of Aug. 12.

DOC said in a release that there are posters in all DOC institutions encouraging those in custody to maintain proper hygiene and uphold appropriate social distancing to the extent possible. There are health screening processes in place for staff before they are allowed to enter work.

Visiting is still closed until further notice.

All employees and adults in custody must wear a mask if they cannot maintain 6 feet of distance. Wearing a mask is mandatory in health services areas and some works areas and in food service areas. Cloth masks have been given to adults in custody and staff.

OHA announced on Friday new guidance on mask requirements. Masks are now required “in public and private building hallways, bathrooms, elevators, lobbies, break rooms, and other common spaces, unless employees are at individual workspaces or in meeting rooms where 6 feet of distance from other people can be maintained."

RELATED: Oregon COVID-19 updates, Aug. 14: Face masks required for private offices

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