Updated at 5:48 p.m. April 27, 2020, with additional information
A Lansing Correctional Facility inmate who had tested positive for COVID-19 died Sunday, according to a news release from the Kansas Department of Corrections.
This is the first reported case of an LCF inmate death as a result of COVID-19.
The male inmate was over the age of 50 and had underlying medical conditions. His name has not been released.
He tested positive for the virus April 19. He was transferred to the University of Kansas Hospital, Kansas City, Kansas, on April 20. The official manner of death for all COVID-19 deaths is considered natural causes, according to the KDOC news release.
The inmate was serving a 25-year to life sentence for first-degree murder. He had been imprisoned with the Kansas Department of Corrections since 2009.
He is the fourth Leavenworth County resident to die as a result of COVID-19, according to the Leavenworth County Health Department.
The Health Department reported Monday afternoon that a total 184 people in Leavenworth County have tested positive for the coronavirus since the outbreak began.
Sixty-six of these cases involve inmates at the Lansing Correctional Facility, according to the Health Department.
The Kansas Department of Corrections reported Monday that only 65 LCF inmates have tested positive for the virus.
The Leavenworth County Health Department and KDOC numbers for confirmed cases of LCF inmates with COVID-19 frequently do not match from day to day.
Todd Farley, a member of the county’s COVID-19 response team, blames the discrepancies on differences in the timing of when each agency receives daily results.
According to a KDOC website, 40 of the LCF inmates who have tested positive for COVID-19 have recovered.
The KDOC reported Monday that 71 employees of LCF have tested positive for the coronavirus. Eleven of them have been able to return to work.
During a news conference Monday, Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly was asked whether LCF is safely being staffed during the outbreak.
Kelly said the state’s prison system has had staffing issues for a decade.
"And that continues," she said.
She said the layout of new buildings on the LCF campus allows for reduced staffing requirements at the prison.
"It doesn't eliminate the shortage," she said.
KDOC announced last week that prison officials have started moving medium and maximum security inmates into newly constructed units at the prison. Minimum security inmates already have been moved to a new building on the campus.
A lawsuit has been filed on behalf of a group of inmates at LCF and other state prisons. In their lawsuit, the inmates argue conditions at state prisons put them at risk for COVID-19 and violate their constitutional rights regarding cruel and unusual punishment.
The case was filed with the Kansas Supreme Court. But the case has been transferred to Leavenworth County District Court.
Kelly has said she will release details of her plan for easing COVID-19-related restrictions later this week. She said during Monday’s news conference that new restrictions can be put in place at the county level once a statewide stay-at-home order is lifted.
"That responsibility will go back to the counties," she said.
County level restrictions are imposed by County Health Officer Jamie Miller. Leavenworth County commissioners are scheduled to have a special meeting Thursday morning to review and discuss the county’s COVID-19 response.