Rikers Island inmate dies of complications from coronavirus

An inmate from Rikers Island who tested positive for the coronavirus died in a Manhattan hospital on Sunday, jail officials said.

The 53-year-old man was transferred from the sprawling jail facility to Bellevue Hospital on March 26 and eventually died there, according to Department of Correction spokesperson Peter Thorne.

He’d been at the lock up since Feb. 28, according to The New York Times, which first reported his death.

“Our deepest condolences go out to the detainee’s family in their time of grief,” Thorne said in a statement. “The safety and well-being of those in our custody remains our number one priority.”

At least 273 inmates at city jails and 321 correction staffers had tested positive for COVID-19 as of Sunday, the department said. Four Correction employees have died from the disease.

DOC does not clarify which of its facilities were affected but the vast majority of inmates are locked up on Rikers Island.

Since the coronavirus outbreak hit Rikers in mid-March, the city has released at least 200 inmates from jail facilities.

City officials, defense attorneys and prosecutors have been working to identify prisoners who could be moved from jail to house arrest while they await trial.

The Legal Aid Society last month filed four lawsuits to get some of its clients out of Rikers and to win freedom for juvenile detainees.

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