2 inmates in Montana die due to COVID-19

Posted at 11:01 AM, Nov 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-06 13:05:10-05

GREAT FALLS — The Montana Department of Corrections announced on Friday that two inmates, one from the Montana State Prison in Deer Lodge and another from the Crossroads Correctional Center in Shelby, died recently due to COVID-19.

One inmate died at the Deer Lodge facility on October 24. The other died on October 31 at Benefis Health System in Great Falls, where the inmate was transferred to from Crossroads to receive medical care.

To protect the privacy of the deceased and their families, and to comply with state and federal law, the DOC has declined to release additional information.

The death that occurred in Deer Lodge will be reflected on the Friday, November 6, state COVID-19 tracking map and on the DOC’s COVID-19 response web page. The Toole County death was added to the state map on November 1.

“The Montana Department of Corrections extends its deepest sympathies to the family and friends of these individuals,” said DOC director Reginald Michael in a news release. “The health and safety of staff and inmates in our secure facilities remain our priorities as we all negotiate the significant challenges presented by this virus. Thank you to our knowledgeable and dedicated employees who strive every day to ensure compassionate, quality care to the people in our custody.”

Virus activity was first identified in the state prison in mid-October. As of November 6, a cumulative total of 261 inmates have been infected at the facility.

Crossroads, a private DOC-contract facility operated by CoreCivic, discovered cases of COVID-19 at its facility in September; the cumulative total for cases among DOC inmates at that facility is 260.


CONTEXT: Not every person who tests positive actually becomes ill or exhibits symptoms. Many do not; of those who do become sick, some experience mild symptoms and do not require hospitalization. Others, however, do require hospitalization, as noted in the daily update on the number of people hospitalized. However, every person who tests positive for COVID-19 has the potential to spread the virus to other people, including family members and friends, which is why public health officials continue to encourage everyone to wear a mask and maintain at least the recommended six feet of "social distance" when in public.

The federal Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) released data in late August which emphasizes that people with contributing or underlying medical conditions are at much greater risk of dying from COVID-19. Click here to read more. The CDC also recently released an update to their research into fatality rates associated with COVID-19. A summary of COVID-19 survival rates is shown below; the summary is one of five based on several scenarios. The CDC data and scenarios can be found here.

COVID-19 Survival Rates

  • Age 0-19: 99.997%
  • Age 20-49: 99.98%
  • Age 50-69: 99.5%
  • Age 70+: 94.6%

The CDC says the scenarios are intended to advance public health preparedness and planning, and are not predictions or estimates of the expected impact of COVID-19. The parameter values in each scenario will be updated and augmented over time, as the agency learns more about the epidemiology of COVID-19. The update from September 10th is based on data received by the CDC through August 8.