Kansas’ 6th correctional facility employee dies of COVID-19

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Originally published by Kansas Reflector on March 22, 2021:

TOPEKA — A 54-year-old corrections officer assigned to Winfield Correctional Facility died of complications from COVID-19, an agency official said Monday.

Secretary Jeff Zmuda said David Warner died Thursday to become the sixth Department of Corrections employee to die as a consequence of the pandemic. This was the first Winfield employee to fall victim to COVID-19.

“David truly made a difference in the lives he touched through his work,” Zmuda said. “He spread love and joy to everyone he met, and he was a beloved member of our KDOC family.”

Gov. Laura Kelly expressed her “deepest sympathies to David’s family, friends and colleagues” and referred to him as a selfless public servant.

Warner was hired in 2010 at Hutchinson Correctional Facility and worked as a corrections officer and pre-release instructor. He joined the staff at Winfield in 2015 and also worked as a corrections officer and pre-release instructor.

Staff fatalities in the state prison system have also occurred at correctional facilities in El Dorado, Topeka, Hutchinson and Lansing. Lansing Correctional Facility has experienced two staff deaths to COVID-19. About 1,300 employees of the Department of Corrections have tested positive for the virus.

More than 5,000 inmates have tested positive and 16 people incarcerated by the state have died in the pandemic.

Kansas Reflector is part of States Newsroom, a network of news outlets supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Kansas Reflector maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Sherman Smith for questions: info@kansasreflector.com. Follow Kansas Reflector on Facebook and Twitter.

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