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Alabama prison COVID-19 cases rise, another death reported.

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The Alabama prison system said Friday that a third inmate has died after testing positive for COVID-19 as the number of cases among inmates and staff continued to rise.

Clarence Shepherd, an 80-year-old inmate at St. Clair Correctional Facility died Friday after testing positive for coronavirus, the Alabam Department of Corrections reported.

The prison system said a total of 119 staff and contract workers and 28 inmates have tested positive for COVID-19 .Twenty-nine of those staff members have ruturned to work.

Inmate advocates and health experts have expressed concerns that the state’s overcrowded prisons would become a breeding ground for a deadly outbreak and urged the state to make additional changes.

The prison system has said it is taking precautions such as distributing masks to inmates and quarantining infirmaries and other areas where there have been positive cases.

The St. Clair’s infirmary, where Shepherd was housed, is quarantined, the prison system said.The Alabama Department of Corrections wrote in a news release that the department extends its sympathies to the Shepherd family and his loved ones during this difficult time.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms that clear up in weeks. For some, especially older adults and those with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and be life-threatening.

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