A woman incarcerated at the Eddie Warrior Correctional Facility in Muskogee County, where more than 700 women have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, has died after being hospitalized with "symptoms associated with COVID-19."
"Due to several health issues, the medical examiner’s office will review all underlying medical facts and conditions to determine if COVID-19 was a significant factor in her death," according to a statement from the Oklahoma Department of Corrections.
"Oklahoma Department of Corrections (ODOC) respects HIPAA as well as the family’s right to privacy and will maintain the confidentiality of the inmate’s health records," the statement continues. "The middle-aged woman was housed at Eddie Warrior Correctional Center (EWCC) serving sentences on 85% crimes when she became ill. Her earliest possible release date was May 2021."
The outbreak inside the minimum-security facility in Taft has been so severe that the Muskogee area has recently topped national lists for worst outbreaks in the country.
At least 16 staff members at the prison have also tested positive for COVID-19. The DOC does not require its staff undergo regular testing, which some public health experts have questioned.
In a Facebook post shared last week by multiple volunteers with Poetic Justice, a nonprofit that provides writing classes to women incarcerated at Eddie Warrior and other facilities, an anonymous inmate inside Eddie Warrior is quoted as writing: "I should have a choice to keep myself safe. DOC took my choice from me by holding me in an open dorm and then willfully compromising my environment. They got us sick and now we are being punished for being sick. Lives are in danger and no one is being held accountable."