Walla Walla prisoner dies after contracting COVID-19
WALLA WALLA, Wash. – A Walla Walla prisoner has died as the Washington State Penitentiary faces an outbreak among inmates and staff.
“The Department of Corrections is sad to announce its third COVID-19 related incarcerated death,” said Corrections Secretary Stephen Sinclair. “The health and safety of the incarcerated individuals under our jurisdiction, our staff and the community remains our top priority.”
According to the Washington Department of Corrections, 62-year-old Michael Cornethan died on Saturday after being taken to a medical facility on Friday for treatment of COVID-19.
Cornethan had been imprisoned since May of 1983 and was serving a life sentence for murder out of King County. The DOC said he had been housed in long-term medium custody at the Washington State Penitentiary.
“The Penitentiary’s Medium Security Units are currently on quarantine status to further contain the spread of COVID-19 across the incarcerated population and staff. In August, the facility began COVID-19 testing of all staff within the facility on a weekly basis and have tested all of the incarcerated individuals housed at the Medium Security Complex,” said a statement published by the DOC.
Two other inmates died of the virus in June at the Coyote Ridge Corrections Center. DOC is keeping a tally of deaths in their facilities on this webpage. They also provided these stats:
The Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla currently has:
- 38 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among staff, and 110 confirmed cases among the incarcerated population, as of November 21, 2020;
- 117 individuals in isolation, meaning the individuals have symptoms and are separated from healthy people, as of November 21, 2020; and,
- 559 individuals in quarantine as of November 21, 2020, meaning they were exposed but do not have symptoms and are separated from healthy people.