A man being held on bail at a Riverside County jail who had tested positive for COVID-19 died Sunday, sheriff’s officials said.
According to Sgt. Mark Wallace, the inmate died “from what appeared to be complications related to COVID-19,” but added that an exact cause of death had not yet been determined.
The sheriff’s department had not previously reported any inmate deaths from COVID-19.
Wallace said the inmate was being held at the Larry D. Smith Correctional Facility in Banning when he first displayed flu-like symptoms on April 13 and was immediately tested for the virus before being transferred to another housing unit where he could be more closely monitored by medical staff.
The following day, the inmate’s test came back positive.
On Monday, correction officers became aware that the inmate’s symptoms had worsened and notified medical staff, according to Wallace.
“Medical staff assessed the inmate, determined the inmate required further treatment at a hospital, and the inmate was transported by ambulance to an area hospital,” Wallace said.
Sheriff’s officials said the inmate died Sunday while hospitalized. His identity was not disclosed pending notification of his family.
The inmate had been behind bars since 2018 for an alleged burglary and arson and was being held in lieu of $1 million bail.
Sheriff’s officials said there were no signs of foul play, but that the death investigation was ongoing.
So far, 135 out of the approximately 3,200 inmates in the county’s five jails have tested positive for COVID-19, with 94 documented recoveries, according to numbers from the Riverside University Health System.
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