Corrections reports death of inmate, 81, from combination of conditions including coronavirus


The Delaware Department of Correction (DOC)  announced that Jim Hunter, Jr., an 81 year-old inmate with underlying health conditions who was  housed at  James T. Vaughn Correctional Center (JTVCC), died on Sunday, May 10 at Bayhealth, Dover, from complications from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), diabetes, and COVID.  

Hunter was part of a minimum security housing unit that has been closely monitored since April 8. When Hunter was tested on April 13, he tested negative for COVID-19. When Hunter was admitted to Bayhealth Hospital, Kent Campus on April 23 for non-COVID treatment, a second COVID-19 test was administered and  returned positive.  Hunter’s condition  deteriorated over the past several days and he had been receiving treatment in the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit.

Hunter, of Dover, has been in DOC custody since 2015 and was serving a 10-year sentence for Unlawful Sexual Contact With a Victim Under 13 Years and Sexual Abuse of a Child.

The department announced the number of inmate COVID recoveries have reached 55 – an increase of 11 recoveries since last Friday.  Every inmate from Sussex Community Corrections Center who tested positive last month through a combination of proactive testing and testing of symptomatic individuals has now recovered from the illness.

The facility has been closely watched because it is in the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in Delaware. Corrections centers, meat and poultry processing plants and nursing homes have all been the locations of COVID-19 outbreaks around the nation.

“Across our correctional system today, only 15 inmate COVID patients from only two facilities are experiencing symptoms of illness, while 60 inmates with positive test results, whose illness was caught early through close monitoring or were identified through proactive testing, are demonstrating no symptoms of illness and are continuing to be closely monitored in isolation at our COVID-19 treatment center,” Commissioner Claire DeMatteis said.  β€œIt is important and encouraging to note that over the past six days the number of inmates recovering is significantly outpacing the number of new cases.  DOC continues to aggressively test, isolate, treat and trace to prevent widespread contamination of this virus.”

 The DOC also  announced that one additional inmate and additional staff members have tested positive for COVID over the past three days.  You can look at  a chart of positive COVID-19 cases among DOC employees, contracted staff and inmates for each DOC facility by clicking HERE

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