Second Alabama inmate dies of COVID-19, state reports

Published 10:10 pm Wednesday, June 3, 2020

The Alabama prison system said Wednesday that a second inmate has died after testing positive for COVID-19 as the number of cases among inmates and staff continued to rise.

William Hershell Moon, a 74-year-old inmate at St. Clair Correctional Facility, died Wednesday at a hospital.

“The Alabama Department of Corrections extends its sympathies to the Moon family and his loved ones during this difficult time, “the prison system wrote in a statement.

The prison system said that four other inmates housed in the same small living area as Moon also tested positive for COVID-19. That small living area within St. Clair’s infirmary is on level-two quarantine, and the entire infirmary at St. Clair remains on level-one quarantine, the prison system said,

A total of 19 inmates have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, according to the prison system. Ten of the inmates are currently ill. The prison system previously reported that one inmate had died after testing positive.

The department said a total of 73 staff members and contract workers have self-reported positive tests for COVID-19. Twenty-one of those have been cleared by medical providers to return to work.

Inmate advocates and health experts have expressed concerns that the state’s overcrowded prisons would become a breeding ground for a deadly outbreak and urged the state to make additional changes.

The prison system has said it is taking precautions such as distributing masks to inmates and quarantining infirmaries and other areas where there have been positive cases.

Alabamians for Fair Justice, an advocacy group, donated more than 3,200 bars of antibacterial soap and other hygiene supplies to the prison system in April.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms that clear up in weeks.

For some, especially older adults and those with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and be life-threatening.