Skip to Content

Snake River state prison reports fourth inmate with COVID-19 to die in 4 days

Snake River Correctional Institution
Oregon Dept. of Corrections
Snake River Correctional Institution in Ontario

(Update: Fourth Snake River inmate dies; 6 Deer Ridge inmates test positive)

Six active cases among Deer Ridge inmates; prison under 14-day quarantine

ONTARIO, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Four Snake River Correctional Institution inmates who tested positive for COVID-19 have died at an area hospital in the past four days, bringing to 13 the number of state prison inmates to die after contracting the virus, the Department of Corrections reported Tuesday.

The inmate who died Saturday was between 75 and 85 years old, the agency said. The one who died Sunday was between 60 and 70, the inmate who died Monday was between 65 and 75. and the inmate who died Monday was between 70 and 80.

Tuesday morning, the Department of Corrections provided this statement to NewsChannel 21:

"ODOC takes the COVID-19 crisis very seriously and has established a multitude of precautions to decrease its spread. We regret any loss of life and convey our condolences to the families of those affected. After each passing, a thorough death review is conducted. With all in-custody deaths, the Oregon State Police are notified, and the Medical Examiner determines cause of death. As in other COVID-related fatalities nationwide, many of these individuals have instances of comorbidity.

"Since the COVID-19 outbreak at Snake River Correctional Institution (SRCI), all adults in custody (AICs) testing positive have been treated at SRCI or transported to a local hospital. The vast majority of positive AICs have been treated and recovered at SRCI. SRCI can deliver 24/7 on-site oxygen, intravenous fluids, intravenous antibiotics, access to consultants (including those for infectious disease and surgery), and infirmary level care.

"ODOC has protocols for hospitalization of AICs who require a higher level of care. Hospitalization of ODOC COVID-19 patients in the community is appropriate when their care needs exceed the capacity of the housing institution. If a patient is having difficulty breathing even with oxygen assistance, the patient will be transported for a higher level of care."

Each day's announcement has also included this information:

As with all in-custody deaths, the Oregon State Police have been notified, and the medical examiner will determine the cause of death. Department-wide, these are the 10th, 11th and 12th AIC (adult in custody) to die who tested positive for COVID-19.

For more information on COVID-19 cases inside Oregon’s prisons, visit DOC’s COVID-19 website.

The agency's COVID-19 tracking tool as of Monday reported 1,093 positive cases among its inmates, with 899 recoveries. It also has recorded 270 cases among staff, with 244 confirmed recoveries.

The case count includes six currently active COVID-19 cases among inmates at Deer Ridge Correctional Institution near Madras and seven overall, along with 725 negative test results. No Deer Ridge staff have tested positive, the tracker states.

Deer Ridge as a whole remains under Tier 4, which is a 14-day quarantine for the entire institution, as are several other state prisons, the department said.

Here's the rest of the agency's news releases:

The agency is responsible for the care and custody of 14,000 adults in custody who are incarcerated in 14 institutions across the state.

DOC requires employees and AICs to wear masks if they cannot maintain six feet of social distancing. Wearing masks is mandatory at all times in health services areas, some work areas, and in food services areas.

Cloth masks have been provided to AICs and staff. If an AIC becomes ill and exhibits flu like symptoms, CDC and OHA guidance for supportive care are followed.

Institutions continue to clean and disinfect numerous times a day. DOC asks AICs to report symptoms of COVID to medical staff. Posters are in all DOC institutions encouraging individuals to maintain proper hygiene and to uphold appropriate social distancing to the extent possible.

Health screening processes are in place before staff are allowed to enter facilities. This screening includes a temperature check and a screening questionnaire. Visiting remains closed until further notice.

Prior to the COVID-19 crisis, DOC issued a press release when an AIC passed away. This notification would include the person’s name, county of conviction, sentence length, and date of death. However, no cause of death would be listed because the Medical Examiner makes that determination.

In order to balance the desire for transparency with our legal obligation to protect personal health information, we have changed the AIC death notification process when someone dies who has tested positive for COVID-19.

DOC is working with the Oregon Health Authority to publish COVID-19 related data and information on the OHA website.

Article Topic Follows: Crime And Courts

Jump to comments ↓

KTVZ news sources


KTVZ NewsChannel 21 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content