A new COVID-19 treatment center at James Vaughn Prison near Smyrna

A new COVID-19 treatment center at James Vaughn Prison near Smyrna

A 54-year-old inmate at Delaware's James T. Vaughn Correctional Center has died from complications caused by a number of chronic illnesses complicated by his contraction of COVID-19. 

According to authorities, Jose Rivera, of Wilmington, died Tuesday, December 22, 2020, at Bayhealth. He had battled asthma, allergic rhinitis, and Osteoarthritis, before testing positive for the novel coronavirus on December 5, 2020. He began displaying symptoms which progressively worsened until he was hospitalized and, on December 16, placed on a ventilator. 

Rivera had been in Department of Correction custody since 2015 and was serving a 21-year sentence for strangulation and violation of a No Contact Order.

Officials with the Delaware DOC said Rivera's death is the first in 3.5 months related to COVID-19. Correctional facilities have not been spared the elevated COVID-19 cases seen across the state and the nation recently, officials said, and clusters across JTVCC, Delores J. Baylor Women's Correctional Institution, Howard R. Young Correctional Center and the Sussex Correctional Institution have been receiving proactive testing, with officials saying more than 3,200 inmates have been tested since November 1. As of December 22, officials said: 

  • 752 inmates have recovered from COVID-19 since the November clusters were first identified. A total of 1,302 inmates have recovered from COVID-19 since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • 262 inmates have active COVID-19 infection, of whom 90% have no symptoms of illness. 27 inmates with active COVID-19 infection are symptomatic, including 13 who are hospitalized. No inmate patients are on a ventilator.
  • There have been 12 COVID-related deaths (including Rivera), including 11 from complications from serious chronic diseases and COVID-19 and 1 from COVID-19.