Sussex Correctional announces first virus-related inmate death

SMYRNA — After a review of death certificate records, the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) announced 49 additional COVID-19-related deaths on Friday.

Also on Friday, the Delaware Department of Correction (DOC) announced John W. Rosciolo, a 78 year-old inmate with underlying health conditions from Sussex Correctional Institution (SCI) died on Friday Bayhealth Hospital, Kent Campus from complications from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), coronary artery disease and COVID-19.

Rosciolo is the first SCI inmate COVID-19 related death and the eighth overall in DOC. The DOC said Rosciolo, from Millsboro, has been in DOC custody since 1978 and was serving a life sentence for second-degree murder.

Case update

Statewide, the DPH reported 75 new positive COVID-19 cases on Friday. Delaware has now seen 14,202 total positive cases.

The seven-day average of percentage of person who tested positive decreased from 4.9% as of July 16 to 4.2% as of Thursday, July 23, according to the DPH.

Current COVID-19 hospitalizations are at 55, with nine considered critically ill. Meanwhile 7,936 individuals are considered recovered, the DPH said.

All numbers via the DPH are as of Thursday at 6 p.m.

Forty-nine deaths added after review

With the 49 additional deaths, 578 Delawareans have passed away due to COVID-19.

The DPH said those 49 deaths came after completing a review of death certificate records from the Delaware Vital Events Registration System (DelVERS) and comparing that information to epidemiological surveillance data. DPH epidemiologists identified those 49 deaths, which the DPH said occurred between early May and late June, but were not previously reported to DPH through standard reporting procedures. The DPH said the deaths should be classified as confirmed or probable deaths, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) case definition.

The DPH announced a similar review last month, which resulted in 67 additional deaths tacked on to the state’s statistics. The DPH said the purpose of these reviews are to ensure that DPH is accurately capturing the total number of COVID-19 related deaths based on both epidemiology surveillance and death certificate data.

Of the 49 deaths added, 37 are classified as confirmed due to there being a positive lab result of COVID-19 in DPH’s surveillance system, and 12 deaths are classified as probable, as, per the CDC case definition, the death certificate indicated COVID-19 or SARS CoV-2 as a cause or contributing factor to death, the DPH said.

The DPH will continue conduct periodic reviews of its Vital Records data each month to identify additional COVID-19 deaths, which could lead to ongoing increases in the state’s death number.

The DPH also issued its weekly update on long-term care facilities on Friday. There have been a total of 1,166 positive COVID-19 cases cumulatively involving long-term care residents, and 356 residents of Delaware long-term care facilities have died from complications related to COVID-19, according to information released by the DPH on Friday.

The DOC meanwhile announced 274 inmates who tested positive this month have recovered as of Friday, and only 18 inmates with active COVID-19 cases are displaying any symptoms of illness, including five who are hospitalized and two who are receiving treatment in prison infirmaries.


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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