- An investigator for the New York City Correction Department has died from the coronavirus.
- David Perez, 56, died on Sunday night, according to the New York Daily News.
- While the inspector had only limited contact with incarcerated people, his death comes at a time of national concern for those who are serving time in jails and prisons during the pandemic.
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David Perez, an investigator for New York City’s Department of Correction died while infected with the novel coronavirus on Sunday, the New York Daily News reported.
“Last night, a member of DOC staff who had tested positive for COVID-19 passed away at a local hospital. This person was an investigator and had limited contact with people in custody,” Correction Commissioner Cynthia Brann said in a statement Monday. “We are heartbroken and send our deepest condolences to our colleague’s family, loved ones, and co-workers.”
The department told the Daily News on Sunday that one person who worked in close proximity to Perez is under a 14-day quarantine.
Perez, 56, had preexisting health conditions, the Daily News said.
Older patients and people with preexisting health conditions more commonly develop severe symptoms from the new coronavirus,
“My brother was one of the best men on earth – very honorable,” Perez’s brother David told the Daily News. “He cared for his mother up until the last day he lived with her.”
Jails are at high risk for a coronavirus outbreak
Perez’s death comes amid national concern over the welfare for the more than two million people being held in jails and prisons across the country.
The tight confines are tightly packed are a “fertile ground for infectious disease,” Dr. Burton Bentley II, an emergency medicine physician and founder of the consulting firm Elite Medical Experts, recently told Insider.
Preventing an outbreak of the highly contagious coronavirus in a jail or prison environment poses unique challenges as inmates are constantly being admitted and released.
On March 3, the New York Department of Correction published it’s plan to protect its staff and inmates from COVID-19.
In addition to advising staff to follow basic flu protocols, it also initiated screening for any inmate entering custody. Any staff member who shows up to work with respiratory ailments is supposed to be sent home and required to provide a doctor’s note with clearance of COVID-19 or flu in order to return.
The Department of Correction didn’t immediately return an email from Insider seeking comment on Monday.
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