Two Ohio Prison Officers Die From COVID-19

Nov 30, 2020

Two more Ohio prison officers have died of COVID-19, bringing the total number of correctional staff deaths since the pandemic's start to seven.

"Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections is mourning the deaths of two employees who have recently tested positive for COVID-19," Gov. Mike DeWine announced in a Monday press conference.

Officer Steven Cooke, a father of two, worked at Dayton Correctional and was with the department for over a decade. Mark Jones, an Army veteran and father, worked at Trumbull Correctional for 26 years.

Both died within the last week after testing positive for COVID-19, DeWine said. 

Since March, seven ODRC staff members have died from COVID, including Cooke and Jones, according to departmental data.

However, the number of inmate deaths is far higher: A total of 114 incarcerated individuals have died from COVID-19 in Ohio's prisons, which is one of the largest death tolls behind bars in the country.

More than 650 staffers currently are positive for COVID-19, compared to 478 cases among inmates. Overall, thousands of cases have been reported among inmates and staff since the pandemic's start.