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COVID-19 Cases Soar In Two Florida Prisons

TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) - The number of inmates who have tested positive for COVID-19 at two Florida prisons has skyrocketed in the last week, according to a report released by the Florida Department of Corrections on Friday.

The combined number of inmates with COVID-19 at Tomoka Correctional Institution and Sumter Correctional Institution climbed to 126 on Friday, a jump from a total of just 10 inmates who tested positive at the facilities a week ago.

Corrections officials said Friday that 82 inmates tested positive for COVID-19 at Tomoka, a Daytona Beach facilities with a maximum capacity of 1,263 prisoners.

Tomoka, which had seven infected inmates a week ago, is the state's hardest-hit correctional facility amid the pandemic.

In addition to the inmates who have tested positive for COVID-19, 1,090 inmates at the prison are either in medical isolation or quarantine after being exposed to the highly contagious virus, officials said Friday.

Sumter Correctional Institution also saw a significant uptick in the number of COVID-19 cases over the past week.

The Bushnell prison, which has a capacity of 1,639 inmates, has 44 prisoners who have tested positive for the virus, an increase from three prisoners who were confirmed positive on April 17.

The number of cases at Tomoka and Sumter account for 70 percent of the state's 179 prisoners who have tested positive for the virus. Forty-three inmates and 10 workers at Blackwater River Correctional Facility in Santa Rosa County also tested positive for COVID-19 as of Friday, the latest report showed.

Four inmates at the Milton prison died from COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus.

As of Friday, 121 corrections workers have tested positive for the virus, but the state has not yet released the number of workers who have undergone testing.

As COVID-19 continues to spread within Florida's prison system, 427 of the state's roughly 94,000 inmates have been tested for the virus, according to corrections officials.

The number of tests that have been performed increased by 97 in the last week.

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