Starting today, the Oklahoma Department of Corrections will provide updated COVID-19 testing numbers the day medical staff collects them. Since ODOC began releasing the information on its website early in the pandemic, the agency posted the results a day in arrears, allowing staff to make adjustments if needed. With a recent increase in positive cases at several facilities, the agency believes it necessary to publish the information as quickly as possible.
Sadly, ODOC is also adding two more inmate deaths to those possibly the result of COVID-19. Saturday, an inmate housed at Lexington Assessment and Reception Center passed away at an area hospital. The elderly male inmate tested positive for COVID-19 in July and was admitted to the hospital. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner will determine the man’s cause of death.
ODOC is including a fourth inmate, an elderly male housed at Joseph Harp Correctional Center in Lexington. He was admitted to the hospital for virus-related symptoms in mid-August and died September 3. His death was the first possibly related to the virus. ODOC did not originally include his death due to his numerous comorbidities. However, the agency is adding his death in the spirit of full transparency. As with the other inmate deaths, the medical examiner will determine cause.
As the agency maneuvers through this uncharted territory, ODOC will make corrections as necessary to best provide the public the most accurate and timely information possible.