First Delaware inmate dies from virus complications

DOVER (AP) — Delaware authorities say the death of a 73-year-old inmate is the first they’ve seen from complications of the coronavirus.

Joseph Russo died Thursday at Bayhealth Hospital’s Kent campus. Initially, though, authorities were unsure if his death was attributable to the coronavirus because two previous tests had come back negative.

The state Department of Corrections said Friday that a third test showed Russo was indeed infected with the virus.

Russo was an inmate at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna, the state’s largest prison. He was at the prison until Monday, when he was transferred to the hospital.

Russo was part of a minimum security housing unit of 45 inmates that has been closely monitored by security and medical staff since April 8. He was serving a life sentence for unlawful sexual intercourse.

State figures show 15 inmates and roughly 20 staffers at Delaware prisons have tested positive for the coronavirus so far.

Helpful Coronavirus links

Delaware Division of Health Coronavirus Page
CDC: About the Coronavirus Disease 2019
CDC: What to do if You Are Sick
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
AP News Coronavirus Coverage
Reopening Delaware: Resources for Businesses
Delaware Phase 2 guidance

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