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Sources: Death of an Arizona Department of Corrections staffer due to COVID-19

Posted at 6:26 PM, Jun 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-03 21:27:45-04

The death of an Arizona Department of Corrections education staffer on Monday was due to COVID-19, according to sources.

Jose Reynoso, a Correctional Education Program Supervisor in the Yuma prison complex, is the first known corrections worker to die from the coronavirus.

On Tuesday, the department announced his passing in an all-staff email, which did not list the cause of the death.

“It is with a heavy heart that ADCRR mourns the passing of Correctional Education Program Supervisor (CEPS) Jose Reynoso who passed away on Monday, June 1, 2020. He was a valued member of his community and was loved and respected by his students, peers, family, friends, and extended family at ADCRR,” according to a separate statement sent to ABC15.

Family for Reynoso could not be reached to comment for this story.

The Yuma prison and the surrounding community have been outbreak hotspots in recent weeks.

Multiple insiders have also complained about in-person education and other classes continuing inside prisons across the state during the pandemic.

On Twitter, state Rep. Athena Salman, D-Tempe, wrote, “Why the prisons haven’t transitioned to online or remote classrooms has led to the needless death of Jose Reynoso.”

In May, KJZZ also published a report raising similar concerns.

As of mid-day Wednesday, the Department of Corrections has reported a total 283 COVID-19 cases in the prison system. The number includes 192 inmates and 91 self-reported cases by staff.

There are 226 tests still pending. So far, 3.8 percent of inmates have been tested.

ABC15 has also confirmed the Arizona State Hospital has had three confirmed COVID-19 cases. The latest is a staff member who tested positive last week.

Contact ABC15 Investigator Dave Biscobing at