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21st coronavirus-positive Utah prisoner dies

The 57-year-old man died Sunday in a hospital, prison authorities said.

(Rick Bowmer | AP) In this Feb. 25, 2015, file photo, a watch tower can be seen at the Utah State Correctional Facility in Draper, Utah. A 57-year-old man incarcerated at the Utah State Prison has died after he tested positive for the coronavirus, prison officials said Tuesday.

A 57-year-old man incarcerated at the Utah State Prison has died after he tested positive for the coronavirus, prison officials said Tuesday.

He was the 21st prisoner to die after testing positive since the virus first entered the Utah State Prison last fall. Another prisoner who had tested positive, a 38-year-old man, died less than two weeks ago on Nov. 27.

The latest man died at a hospital. He had been at the Olympus facility in Draper prior to his hospitalization. A medical examiner will perform an autopsy to confirm his death was related to COVID-19.

There are currently 77 active coronavirus cases in the Draper facility, and 10 cases in Gunnison, which is a smaller facility in rural Utah, prison officials said Tuesday.

The prison system has struggled to keep the virus out of its facilities since last October. The latest outbreak started a few months ago, and has spread throughout several housing units in the Draper facility. New cases were reported in Gunnison in mid-November.

Prison officials said vaccines are available to inmates, adding that they have started offering booster vaccines and hope to expand boosters to all those who are incarcerated in the coming weeks.

Inmate vaccination rates, prison officials say, fluctuate between 60 to 92% depending on the housing unit.

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