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Oklahoma County Jail Inmate Dies After Testing Positive For COVID-19

A 64-year-old man awaiting trial on drug and gun charges in the Oklahoma County Jail died on Tuesday after being transferred to a hospital and testing positive for COVID-19.

Clarence Merrell had been diagnosed with multiple chronic illnesses including COPD. Jail staff say he was transferred to the jail’s medical unit the day he entered the jail because he’d been having trouble breathing.

Jail administrator Greg Williams says Merrell was eventually sent to the hospital where he tested positive for COVID-19.

The exact cause of Merrell’s death has yet to be determined.

The Oklahoma County Jail is experiencing a COVID outbreak. As of Friday, 44 prisoners had tested positive for the disease. The county’s jail trust says it’s working to test more prisoners.

Quinton Chandler worked at StateImpact Oklahoma from January 2018 to August 2021, focusing on criminal justice reporting.
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