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PRESS RELEASE: First COVID-Related Incarcerated Death at Airway Heights

Released December 18, 2020

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Department of Corrections

TUMWATER – On December 18, 2020, an individual incarcerated at Airway Heights Corrections Center passed away at a local healthcare facility due to COVID-19 related illness.

The Washington State Department of Corrections offers its condolences to the family and friends of the decedent and remains committed to continue science-based health practices and following the established COVID-19 screening, testing and infection control guidelines (pdf) as the Department works to contain and mitigate spread of the virus.

Airway Heights continues to place living units on quarantine in an effort to limit transmission among the incarcerated population.

Because of the growing number of COVID-19 positive cases, the facility initiated restricted movement (pdf) to limit the potential exposure of COVID-19 among the facility’s incarcerated population.

Today’s death represents the fifth COVID-related death of an incarcerated individual in the custody of the Washington Department of Corrections. The Department houses approximately 15,000 incarcerated individuals in its system. Additionally, one Washington state correctional officer has died of COVID-19.

The Department of Corrections is committed to mitigating, containing and ceasing the spread of COVID-19 in its facilities and providing for the health and safety of the incarcerated, staff and the community.