An inmate at Pender Correctional Institute that tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this month has died due to complications stemming from the virus. Officials are not releasing the identity of the man, who was described as in his late fifties with underlying conditions. 

Pender is one of a dozen state prisons currently reporting outbreaks of the virus, according to the state Department of Health and Human Services. Outbreaks have also been reported in Bertie, Caswell, Durham, Granville, Greene, Halifax, Hertford, Johnston, Pasquotank,Wake and Wayne. 

Including federal prisons and local jails, more than 650 inmates have tested positive for the virus in North Carolina and five have died. 

The Pender County prisoner is the first person incarcerated in a state-run prison to die from the virus. He first showed symptoms of the virus on April 8 and was “promptly isolated from the population,” according to a press statement. A positive test for the virus was returned on April 10. Three days later he was hospitalized. His condition deteriorated, and on April 21, he died. 

“Any death is a tragedy, and we must continue our efforts to do all we can to try and flatten the curve of COVID-19 in Prisons,” Commissioner of Prisons Todd Ishee said in a press statement. “The health and safety of the staff and the men and women in our custody is of paramount importance.”

To combat the spread of the virus, the state’s prisons have suspended visitation. 

Contact Raleigh editor Leigh Tauss at

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