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NC prisoner with virus dies; state cases reach daily record

January 3, 2022 GMT

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina prisoner with COVID-19 died over the weekend, the state Department of Public Safety announced on Monday.

The male offender, who was serving time at the minimum-custody Greene Correctional Institution, died at an unnamed hospital on Saturday.

The offender, whose name wasn’t released due to family privacy and prisoner record confidentiality, tested positive on Dec. 21 and was hospitalized Dec. 24. The offender, who was in his late 70s, wasn’t vaccinated, the release said. Prisoners are encouraged but not required to receive COVID-19 vaccines.

An initial review shows COVID-19 was likely the cause of death or at least a contributing factor, DPS said. The death marked the 56th offender death related to the coronavirus during the pandemic, but the first since May, DPS spokesperson John Bull said.

The death was reported amid a surge in reported cases in North Carolina and nationwide, much of which is contributed the highly-contagious omicron variant.

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The state Department of Health and Human Services reported 19,620 positive cases on Saturday — the third record day-over-day increase for the pandemic last week. COVID-19 patient hospitalizations also continued an upward trend over the weekend, reaching 2,722 people as of Sunday, according to DHHS data.