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Fifth Oregon inmate dies after testing positive for COVID-19

The Oregon Department of Corrections announced a fifth inmate has died after testing positive for COVID-19.

The unidentified man was between 50 and 60 years old, the DOC said in a release. He was serving a sentence at the Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution in Pendleton and died at a local hospital.

This is the fourth DOC inmate to die from the virus this month.

Inmates are at greater risk for COVID-19 because it’s nearly impossible to socially distance inside jails and prisons.

In June, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown commuted the sentences of 57 people who were incarcerated. This week, she announced she’s preparing to commute the sentences of more medically vulnerable inmates.

The governor asked the DOC for information about inmates who are within two months of release, who have secured housing, have had good behavior and are not serving a sentence for a violent crime against another person.

There are approximately 300-400 inmates who could qualify under the governor’s parameters, according to the DOC.

Copyright 2020 Oregon Public Broadcasting

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