Wildwood Correctional Center is seen in this undated photo. (Alaska Department of Corrections)

Wildwood Correctional Center is seen in this undated photo. (Alaska Department of Corrections)

Wildwood reports COVID-related inmate death

Approximately 187 inmates have tested positive at the facility.

The Alaska State Department of Corrections announced Monday that a 68-year-old inmate died from COVID-19 complications last week at Central Peninsula Hospital.

The man is one of nine inmates who have died in DOC custody this year, the department reported in a press release.

Betsy Holley, a public information officer with DOC, confirmed that the man had been in custody at Wildwood Pretrial Facility in Kenai.

According to the department’s website on Monday, a total of 56,779 COVID tests have been administered to inmates statewide since the beginning of the pandemic, with an average positivity rate of about 5.88%.

Additionally, there have been 33 inmate COVID hospitalizations and six COVID deaths throughout the pandemic.

The Associated Press reported Monday that Wildwood is experiencing an “outbreak” — as approximately 187 inmates have tested positive — and that the DOC doesn’t track positive cases among the staff.

Holley said Monday that the facility hasn’t changed its protocols, and that inmates are tested as they arrive and separated while in quarantine.

In addition, she said each eligible inmate is offered a COVID vaccine.

According to DOC data, as of Monday slightly over 52% of all Wildwood inmates were fully vaccinated against the virus.

The deceased man had been in custody since Sept. 30, 2011, the department stated in the release, after being convicted of sexual abuse of a minor.

His next of kin has been notified.

Reach reporter Camille Botello at camille.botello@peninsulaclarion.com.

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