Family alleges Pender Correctional inmate did not receive timely treatment for COVID-19

Inmate's wife concerned about husband's welfare in prison

PENDER COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - Family members of a prison inmate say their loved one didn’t get timely medical care after becoming ill with COVID-19.

The inmate’s wife spoke to WECT anonymously for fear of retaliation against her husband for sharing their story. Her husband is now recovering.

Three inmates have died after contracting COVID-19 at Pender Correctional Institution.

Over 100 people have tested positive and data from the Department of Public Safety shows there are currently 14 active cases.

Many families have been separated from their loved ones as visitation restrictions have been in place since the onset of the pandemic at state prisons.

The wife says she hasn’t seen her husband in person in almost a year because of the distance between their home and the prison and the pandemic.

She says her husband was sick with a fever for several days before he received treatment and was eventually taken to New Hanover Regional Medical Center for treatment, but she says it was more than a week later before she was notified.

“I was upset, angry and frustrated," she said. "Because my husband calls me every day, twice a day and then to go for a week and a half of no phone calls, I was worried that maybe something had happened.”

The Department of Public Safety has launched several initiatives to combat COVID-19 in prisons since March including using large disinfectant machines, restricting visitation, supplying masks and conducting temperature checks for people coming and going.

In August, everyone in all prison facilities was tested.

However, many policies and procedures are decided on a facility-by-facility basis.

DPS updates data online for every facility here.

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