FRANKFORT, Ky. — A 55-year-old man housed at the Kentucky State Reformatory is the fourth inmate to die in a Kentucky prison after contracting the coronavirus.
Cabinet Secretary J. Michael Brown said the man from Jefferson County died from a heart attack July 12, a day after testing positive for the coronavirus.
Kentucky Department of Corrections spokeswoman Lisa Lamb said an autopsy is pending.
The state put several protocols in place to prevent and contain the spread of the coronavirus as the pandemic started, but Governor Andy Beshear says more may need to be done.
“It means we need to step up cleanliness. We need mask-wearing at all times,” Beshear said. “It’s incredibly important that we take those steps right now, but we do have a model that I believe if we can follow, we can stabilize the situation.”
Beshear commuted the sentences of 1,235 non-violent offenders in April to reduce the prison population. He said he hasn’t considered any more commutations, but may look into some that may now qualify under conditions laid out in his previous orders.
622 inmates and 80 staff members have tested positive for the coronavirus in four different facilities.
Green River Correctional Complex has the largest outbreak with 367 inmates and 51 staff members infected. A large portion of those positive tests came in early May. Three inmates at Green River have died, making it the only other Kentucky facility with recorded deaths.
The second-largest outbreak is at the Kentucky Correctional Institution for Women: 207 inmates and 18 staff members since the first positive cases in late May.
The first positive test at the Kentucky State Reformatory came July 5, and now there are 47 coronavirus cases among inmates and five among staff members.
Roederer Correctional Complex is the only other state-run prison with any recorded cases as of Tuesday night. Three staff members and one inmate have contracted the virus.