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Local 5 - weareiowa.com | Des Moines Local News & Weather | Des Moines, Iowa

2nd Iowa correctional officer passes away from coronavirus

The head of AFSCME City Council 61 says he fears more deaths will be coming if actions aren't taken to protect workers and prisoners.

A correctional officer at the Clarinda Correctional Facility passed away over the weekend due to coronavirus

American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Iowa President Danny Homan was notified of the death late Saturday evening. He said it's unacceptable that the second correctional officer in Iowa has passed away from COVID-19.

"I'm mad as hell," said Homan. "Because another citizen of this state has died from coronavirus. I don't believe the governor of this state has taken this virus seriously, and I don't believe the Department of Corrections director is doing enough. They should be doing everything to protect staff and inmates we are charged to supervise and protect."

So far, there have been at least 10 Iowa inmates who have died due to complications related to COVID-19. 

Homan said he wants to see essentially a "shelter-in-place" order in effect for Iowa's correctional facilities. He wants all transfers and admissions between jails and state prisons to be temporarily discontinued to reduce the spread of coronavirus.

"My biggest fear is we are going to have more people die, more correctional officers are going to die, more residential treatment workers are going to die," said Homan. "More people are going to lose their life and folks should not lose their life because they went to work and contracted a virus that ended up killing them."

The Dept. of Corrections has said in the past that it is doing everything to protect inmates and isolate potentially sick ones. Thousands of inmates and staff have been tested for coronavirus so far.

Families and loved ones can keep track of the virus inside state prison facilities by visiting this website.