Utah says 16 inmates total have died of COVID-19

The state medical examiner’s reports clarify counts from the past few months.

(Rick Bowmer, pool, AP file photo) The Utah Department of Corrections announced Thursday that 16 inmates have died from COVID-19 at its facilities in Gunnison and Draper, shown in 2015.

A total of 16 inmates have died of COVID-19 in state prisons, the Utah Department of Corrections announced Thursday.

The updated death toll reflects examination results released by the Utah Office of the Medical Examiner, according to a news release. The inmates who died were incarcerated at the Utah State Prison in Draper and the Central Utah Correctional Facility in Gunnison.

The medical examiner’s reports clarify counts from the past few months. Two deaths that were originally believed to have been caused by COVID-19 were in fact not related to the disease, and five deaths that were not thought to have been coronavirus-caused actually were, according to the release.

Four of the five previously unreported COVID-19 deaths were of men between the ages of 65 and 84, and one was of a man between the ages of 45 and 64. Further information about those five inmates was not released for privacy reasons, but their deaths all occurred between December and January, the department announced.

A total of 1,762 people have tested positive for COVID-19 at the Draper facility, of which 1,740 are considered recovered, according to data from the Utah Department of Corrections. At the Gunnison facility, 1,106 inmates have tested positive for COVID-19, and 1,099 are considered recovered.

Both facilities are currently on a modified lockdown, meaning time outside of cells is limited for prisoners. Inmates are able to visit with friends and family members via video in Draper.

The news release says the corrections department is working with the Utah Department of Health on testing and vaccinating inmates. So far, about 184 people at the two facilities have received at least one dose.