A 70-year-old man incarcerated at Mountain View Correctional Facility in Charleston was the state’s first inmate to die from the coronavirus, the Maine Department of Corrections announced late Wednesday.
The agency did not immediately release any other details about the inmate or the circumstances of his death, citing “privacy requirements,” but the virus has apparently been circulating in the Penobscot County facility, which can house up to 374 adult male inmates and 20 juveniles.
On Friday, the corrections agency announced that four people at Mountain View — three inmates and one employee — had tested positive for the virus.
Mountain View joins two other state correctional facilities that have reported outbreaks in recent months.
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State health authorities started investigating an outbreak at the Maine Correctional Center in Windham in late October, and that outbreak eventually grew to 143 inmates and 17 employees. At the state’s youth prison, the Long Creek Youth Development Center in South Portland, 12 employees had tested positive as of earlier this month.
Across the country, some of the nation’s largest coronavirus outbreaks happened in correctional facilities in the early months of the pandemic, but Maine avoided large correctional facility outbreaks until more recently.
The Maine Correctional Center had an initial virus outbreak in May, though that was limited to four inmates who tested positive. Maine saw its first large jail outbreak this summer at the York County Jail, where more than 80 inmates, staff and their relatives tested positive after a jail employee attended an Aug. 7 wedding in the Millinocket region that was the spark for a statewide outbreak that resulted in 180 cases.
An inmate from the York County Jail died in late September after testing positive for COVID-19 during that outbreak, but the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention has said he recovered from the disease before his death, and jail officials said he suffered a “medical issue” the night before.