(Courtesy photo / Alaska Department of Corrections)

State reports 5th inmate COVID-19 death

The department did not identify the man.

This article has been updated to include additional information.

A fourth inmate at Goose Creek Correctional Center near Anchorage and fifth inmate for the Alaska Department of Corrections has died from COVID-19-related complications, said a DOC spokesperson.

The name of the 76-year-old offender was not released in accordance with DOC regulations, said spokesperson Sarah Gallagher in a news release. The offender was incarcerated in 2013 for charges relating to sexual abuse of a minor.

GCCC was the center of a major outbreak over the last several months, Gallagher said. The number of active cases is dropping.

“To date, GCCC has seen approximately 1,271 positive test results. Note that DOC has performed both antigen and PCR tests on offenders, so this number may be slightly inflated due to the possibility that one offender may have yielded multiple positive results,” Gallagher said in an email. “Only 119 of those cases are considered active at this time.”

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The number of inmates with active COVID-19 cases depends a great deal on the amount of members of the surrounding community that are transmitting the virus, Gallagher said. GCCC has a total capacity of 1,535 inmates, with 1,280 of those in general population, according to DOC.

“We are seeing institutions located in areas with high community transmission rates are more affected than those in communities where case counts remain generally low,” Gallagher said. “All DOC institutions are adhering to the same standard operating procedure with regard to COVID response; however, those policies may be tightened to control an outbreak on an as needed basis.”

Anchorage and the Matanuska-Susitna Valley regions have had more than 2,500 confirmed cases in the last two weeks, according to the Department of Health and Social Services. Juneau and the communities of the surrounding part of the Southeast have had 36.

Hiland Mountain Correctional Center, Alaska’s dedicated women’s correctional facility, is also suffering an outbreak, Gallagher said, with 155 confirmed cases. HMCC has a listed capacity of 400 inmates, according to the DOC.

• Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at (757) 621-1197 or mlockett@juneauempire.com.

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