15th Utah inmate dies after testing positive for COVID-19

The 62-year-old was incarcerated at the Utah State Prison in Draper.

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Protesters gather for a rally for prison inmates at the Department of Corrections on Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020. A 62-year-old inmate incarcerated at the Utah State Prison in Draper died Wednesday, Jan. 6, after being hospitalized with COVID-19.

A 62-year-old inmate incarcerated at the Utah State Prison in Draper died Wednesday after being hospitalized with COVID-19, according to a news release from the Utah Department of Corrections.

The person who died hadn’t identified any living relatives, and the Department of Corrections says its attempts to contact the inmate’s next of kin have not been successful.

This is the 15th death of a person who tested positive for COVID-19 in a Utah state prison since the start of the pandemic. Utah seemingly was able to keep COVID-19 out of prisons until October, but since then it has been a problem. There are currently 1,178 active coronavirus cases in prisons and jails in Utah, according to the news release.

Visits to state prisons are not allowed right now because of the pandemic.

Advocates for prisoners have said the Department of Corrections is not doing enough to protect inmates from the coronavirus. Inmates and the ACLU of Utah have told The Salt Lake Tribune that prisoners are not getting adequate medical care. Sara Wolovick, an ACLU Equal Justice Works fellow, said the ACLU received multiple reports of people with difficulty breathing or low oxygen who were not taken to a hospital or infirmary for days.