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A third man incarcerated at the Utah State Prison has died after testing positive for coronavirus

(Trent Nelson | Tribune file photo) A third incarcerated person died of COVID-19 on Saturday after contracting the disease at the Utah State Prison — photographed in 2010.

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A 50-year-old man is the third incarcerated person in Utah to die after contracting the coronavirus at the Utah State Prison’s Draper facility.

He is the youngest inmate in Utah to die after testing positive for COVID-19. A 70-year-old man died last week, and an 82-year-old died earlier this month.

Both of the older men had been housed in the Oquirrh 5 facility, where the most medically vulnerable inmates live. The 50-year-old man, who died Saturday evening at a hospital, had been housed at Wasatch Facility’s A-Block. Prison officials said Monday that he was one of the first in that unit to test positive for the virus, and had been hospitalized since Oct. 12.

“I would like to express condolences to those who have lost incarcerated loved ones, as well as so many others in Utah who have lost loved ones due to this pandemic,” said Mike Haddon, executive director for the Utah Department of Corrections. “As a state, we must all continue to pull together to combat the spread of COVID-19, including wearing our face coverings, social distancing and limiting contact with those outside our households.”

As of Monday, there are 649 inmates in Draper who currently have COVID-19 — about 26% of the prison population. Another 34 people at the Gunnison prison facility have also tested positive and are not considered recovered.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Utah sued prison officials in April alleging the state prison system has not done enough to keep inmates safe from the coronavirus. That lawsuit was dismissed by the Utah Supreme Court in May. The court did not respond to the allegations made by the ACLU, but said the group didn’t have legal standing for the lawsuit since they weren’t representing any inmates.

The ACLU has expressed frustration about the current outbreak, saying prison officials still aren’t doing enough to keep inmates safe and stop the coronavirus from spreading. They say they haven’t ruled out the possibility of more litigation.

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