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PRESS RELEASE: Fourth and Fifth COVID-19 Related Incarcerated Deaths at Airway Heights

Released February 5, 2021

Contact DOC COVID-19 Media Inquiries, (425) 754-4939

Department of Corrections

TUMWATER – On the dates of January 26 and January 29, 2021, two individuals, both incarcerated at Airway Heights Corrections Center in Airway Heights, Wash., passed away at community healthcare facilities due to COVID-19. Both individuals had complex underlying medical conditions which required additional review and analysis of healthcare records to make a final determination. Both individuals’ next of kin and/or attorney have been provided notification of their passing.

The Washington State Department of Corrections offers its condolences to the family and friends of the decedents and remains committed to continue science-based health practices and following the established COVID-19 screening, testing and infection control guidelines (pdf) as the department works to contain and mitigate any spread of the virus.

As of February 4, Airway Heights Corrections Center has had 238 COVID-19 cases in the last 30 days among the incarcerated population. As of December 31, 2020, Airway Heights Corrections Center has a total capacity for 2,172 individuals and an average daily population of 1,926.

These deaths represent the twelfth and thirteenth COVID-related deaths of incarcerated individuals in the custody of the Washington State Department of Corrections. The department houses approximately 15,000 incarcerated individuals in its system. Additionally, two Washington State correctional officers have died of COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic.

The health and safety of staff and those sentenced to the department’s custody remains the department’s top priority. The department remains committed to mitigating, containing and ceasing any spread of COVID-19.