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8th inmate dies from coronavirus at federal prison in Elkton

The facility is one of several prisons in Ohio to experience an outbreak of COVID-19

ELKTON, Ohio — An eighth inmate from the Federal Correctional Institute in Elkton has died from the coronavirus, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Wednesday.

Officials say 70-year-old James Druggan, who had been serving a 10-year sentence since 2015 for distribution of child pornography, first went to a local hospital on April 5 and later tested positive for COVID-19. He was placed on a ventilator a day later and, after a month lying in the hospital bed, died from the disease this morning.

Besides his more advanced age, the DOJ says Druggan had "long-term, preexisting medical conditions" that increased his risk of getting sicker than most from the virus. The exact nature of those conditions was not specified.

FCI Elkton is one of several prisons in Ohio to experience an outbreak of coronavirus, with roughly 50 inmates and 50 staff members testing positive for the illness. At the behest of a federal judge in Cleveland, the facility will now consider releasing or transferring 837 prisoners deemed medically vulnerable.

RELATED: Elkton guard recalls COVID-19 outbreak, his own recovery in uncertain times

One of those prisoners is 64-year-old Jimmy Dimora, the former Cuyahoga County commissioner and Democratic Party chairman who has been incarcerated since 2012 on various corruption charges. Dimora is not scheduled to be freed until 2036, but his attorney says he's "not in the best of health," making him a candidate for temporary home release.

Today is the deadline for transfer and release evaluations. Those who do not file or have their case denied will instead be isolated at the prison.

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