By Kevin Deutsch
A Department of Correction investigator from the Bronx died from the coronavirus Sunday, officials said, fueling concerns about the potential spread of COVID-19 in New York City’s correction system.
The 56-year-old city worker, whose identity was not made public, worked in the department’s Investigation Division at DOC headquarters in East Elmhurst, and had not been to work for at least several days.
“Last night, a member of DOC staff who had tested positive for COVID-19 passed away at a local hospital,” DOC Commissioner Cynthia Brann said in a written statement confirming the employee’s death. “This person was an investigator and had limited contact with people in custody,”
“We are heartbroken and send our deepest condolences to our colleague’s family, loved ones, and co-workers,” Brann said. “As we endure this loss to our community, we will continue to do everything to keep our facilities safe for everyone. Consistent with CDC and DOHMH guidance, anyone who was in close contact with this individual has been notified and appropriate precautions taken.”
In an effort to prevent an outbreak of coronavirus in city jails, including those on Rikers Island, the city this week halted visits to inmates. But correction officials have said little about what precautions are being taken to protect prisoners during the global pandemic.
The Legal Aid Society said it has received complaints from multiple clients locked in city jails about a lack of basic sanitation to prevent spread of COVID-19 in the facilities.