SEAGOVILLE, Texas — The Bureau of Prisons facility in Seagoville confirmed its first COVID-19 related death this week, as COVID infections continued to spread to the majority of inmates housed there.
According to the BOP's latest updated COVID-tracking numbers, of the 1,446 inmates at FCI Seagoville 1,072 inmates and nine staff have tested positive. That represents an inmate COVID positivity rate of 74%.
The number of infections at Seagoville is more than any other BOP facility in the country.
The number includes 56-year-old George Reagan, an inmate nearing the end of a 70-month sentence for drug offenses.
"There's 300 people just in his building alone and all of them tested positive," said his wife Tabitha Wheeler-Reagan.
"The building that he's in they're all positive. I think Seagoville wasn't prepared. I think that the guards really weren't trained," said Wheeler-Reagan, who has attended protests outside the Seagoville facility twice in the last month.
The Bureau of Prisons confirmed that inmate James Giannetta, 65, a Seagoville inmate serving a 167-month sentence for drug offenses, died July 16, after being transported to a hospital for treatment. He was placed on a ventilator on Wednesday and died on Thursday.
BOP said Giannetta had "long-term, pre-existing medical conditions."
FMC Carswell, a federal medical center in Fort Worth, also reported the death of a female inmate this week.
The Federal Bureau of Prisons says Sandra Kincaid, 69, tested positive for COVID-19 on July 6 and was transported to a hospital on July 12. After being placed on a ventilator, she died three days later.
The Bureau of Prisons said Kincaid also had long-term, pre-existing medical conditions prior to contracting COVID-19. She is the second COVID-19 related death connected to FMC Carswell.
As of July 17, nationwide there have been 97 federal inmate deaths and one staff member death attributed to COVID-19.
Nationwide, the Federal Bureau of Prisons reports 9,033 positive results from 31,534 completed tests. That represents an inmate positivity rate of 28.6%.
In a statement to WFAA, a Bureau of Prisons spokesperson said they are using a Rapid RNA testing method to identify positive cases more quickly:
"As testing resources have become more available, we are testing our inmate population more broadly, which is helping us to quickly identify and isolate positive cases to rapidly flatten the curve when outbreaks occur.
All Inmates who are positive for COVID-19 or symptomatic are isolated and provided medical care in accordance with CDC guidance. Symptomatic inmates whose condition rises to the level of acute medical care will be transferred to a hospital setting; either at a local hospital, or at an institution's hospital care unit, if they have one."
As for the Seagoville outbreak, Wheeler-Reagan hopes her husband could be among those released early.
"I'm concerned with kids going back to school if it can rise that fast in a prison setting," she said. "But the fight is not just for him. I don't want anybody to die, a death sentence. If a third world country released inmates prior to the epidemic going crazy in their country, America should be able to do better."
Federal prisons, citing coronavirus concerns, closed facilities to family visits months ago. But in her last conversation with her husband Wheeler-Reagan said he was improving from his COVID symptoms.
More on WFAA:
- Deaf inmate granted parole from Texas prison in June but died before he was released
- Hundreds of inmates, staffers continue to test positive at prisons and jails across North Texas
- 'I'm scared every day': Correctional officers, inmates say Texas prisons botched COVID-19 response
- Dallas County inmates file federal lawsuit asking for release amid soaring coronavirus cases