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 40-year-old inmate of the Sussex Correctional Institution died Tuesday from complications of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 in combination with a number of other comorbidities, Delaware Department of Correction officials announced Wednesday. 

According to authorities, Michael Harris began exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 and received a rapid test on January 10, 2021, which returned positive. He was moved to the SCI COVID-19 Treatment Center immediately, but his symptoms progressed to the point where he was transferred to an area hospital on January 13, 2021. 

Harris was placed on a ventilator on January 19, and died at 11:10 p.m. that same day. 

A Dover native who'd been "in and out of DOC custody for the past 23 years," according to officials, Harris's body was released to the Delaware Division of Forensic Science for an autopsy. His most recent incarceration was for December 16, 2020, convictions for possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance and endangering the welfare of a child which resulted in a one-year sentence. 

Harris additionally suffered from asthma, diabetes, and chronic pain syndrome.