First Michigan prison worker dies of coronavirus, 24 others positive


A male correctional transportation officer who worked in the Detroit area died from COVID-19, becoming the first employee of the Michigan Department of Corrections to die from the virus.

The officer’s name is Damon Burton of the Detroit Reentry Center, according to the MDOC’s Honor Guard Facebook page. The age and years of experience of the man in the department have not been disclosed.

So far, 25 MDOC employees have tested positive for COVID-19, said spokesman Chris Gautz, with a varying range of symptom severity.

Another 141 detainees tested positive in nine of the 29 MDOC prisons. No new prison has reported any virus cases – apart from the original nine – in recent days, which Gautz said is a good sign.

Jackson County Parnall Correctional Facility has the highest number of inmates with 59.

The MDOC suspended all visits to the prisons on March 13 and implemented a staff selection process. Anyone entering a prison is examined daily with a questionnaire and gets their temperature, said Gautz. If it is more than 100.4, they are sent home.

“For the prisoners who have it, they (probably) got it from the staff who brought it,” said Gautz. “Because obviously our prisoners are not in the community or do not make international trips. “

If staff have enough specific symptoms, they are sent home for seven days from the start of symptoms, said Gautz.


In addition to washing your hands regularly and not touching your face, the authorities recommend practicing social distancing, assuming that anyone can carry the virus.

Health officials say that you should stay at least 6 feet from others and work from home, if possible.

Take a hand sanitizer with you and use disinfectant wipes or disinfectant spray cleaners on frequently touched surfaces in your home (door handles, faucets, counters) and when you go to places like stores.

Learn more about Michigan coronavirus coverage here

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