12 inmates have died at state prison in Chino due to COVID-19

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The California Institution for Men in Chino appears in this undated photo. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

The California Institution for Men in Chino appears in this undated photo. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Two more inmates have died after they contracted the coronavirus at a Southern California prison, officials said Wednesday.

They were the 11th and 12th such deaths in the state’s corrections system.

All the inmate deaths have been at the California Institution for Men in San Bernardino County. Both died at outside hospitals from what appear to be virus complications, said corrections department spokeswoman Dana Simas.

One died Tuesday, the other Wednesday. Simas did not name them or provide other details, citing patient privacy laws.

Nearly 450 of the prison’s more than 3,300 inmates are actively positive for the coronavirus, or about 13%. The department has nearly 2,000 active cases statewide and nearly 400 more inmates have since recovered.

The first department employee died Saturday in Riverside County after recently testing positive for coronavirus. Officials identified him as California Rehabilitation Center Correctional Officer Danny Mendoza, 53. Nearly 350 employees have tested positive during the pandemic and 165 have recovered and returned to work.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death. The vast majority of people recover.

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