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Florida Inmate COVID-19 Cases Top 5,000

TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) -- The number of Florida prison inmates who have tested positive for COVID-19 surpassed 5,000 on Friday, and the inmate death toll increased by one, according to data released by the state Department of Corrections.

The count of positive cases among inmates went from 4,886 on Thursday to 5,158 on Friday. More than 120 of the new cases were reported at Columbia Correctional Institution, a facility in rural North Florida that has 1,096 inmate cases, the largest number of infections at any prison in the state.

In all, 37 inmates have died from complications of the respiratory disease.

The number of corrections workers who have tested positive for the virus also ticked up, from 1,237 cases on Thursday to 1,318 on Friday.

Dade Correctional Institution, where the Department of Corrections has launched an emergency plan to address significant staffing shortages due to the pandemic, has logged 121 positive cases among its workforce, the largest number in the state.

It is unclear how many of the Dade Correctional employees have recovered and returned to work.

Part of the emergency plan requires workers at the correctional facility to work 12-hour shifts for up to six days a week to maintain adequate staffing levels.

As of mid-day Friday, corrections and health officials had conducted 40,483 tests on inmates. The department said 5,139 test results were pending.

As of Wednesday the state Department of Health reported 34 inmates had died at 11 separate correctional facilities. The department has not disclosed where three inmates have died, including the prisoner whose death was confirmed Friday.

(©2020 CBS Local Media. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.)

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