Four prisoners at Federal Correctional Complex Oakdale, a federal prison in Allen Parish, Louisiana have died of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, the federal Bureau of Prisons confirmed on Thursday.
The prison is dealing with what appears to be the worst coronavirus outbreak of any federal prison in the country. Transmission has become so widespread that the prison has stopped testing for the virus to conserve resources. Inmates say ambulances are constantly coming and going from the facility.
“As of now it’s like we are on death row, just waiting to catch the virus,” an inmate at the prison wrote to The Lens on Wednesday.
The most recent confirmed death at FCC Oakdale was 66 year-old David Townsend. According to the BOP, Townsend went into respiratory failure at the facility on March 28. He was transferred to a hospital and tested positive for COVID-19 the same day. He was placed on a ventilator on the March 29, and on Wednesday, April 1, he was pronounced dead by hospital staff.
The other prisoners who have died in custody at FCC Oakdale were 49-year-old Patrick Jones, 43-year-old Nicholas Rodriguez, and 57-year-old James Wilson. Rodriguez and Wilson also died Wednesday. Jones died on Saturday.
According to the Bureau of Prisons website, there are 12 confirmed cases of coronavirus at FCC Oakdale as of Thursday evening. But the BOP said in a statement that it has stopped testing due to “sustained transmission” at the facility, and they will not provide the number of suspected cases, making it impossible to gauge how widespread the infection is at the facility.