Currently, there are 122 facilities that are apart of the federal prison system which hold about 129,000 inmates throughout the country. Over 10,000 of those inmates have tested positive for the virus and over 35,000 of them have been tested.
Of the 100 inmates who passed, three of them were women. The first woman who passed from COVID-19 was named Andrea Circle Bear. She was a 30-year-old mother who was on a ventilator when she gave birth to her sixth child.
“I asked [hospital staff] if she even knew about the baby and they said, ‘No, she’s been on a ventilator,’” Clara LeBeau, Circle Bear’s grandmother, told the outlet. “She never even knew she had the baby and never got the chance to hold the baby.”
Circle Bear was sentenced to 26 months in prison after being convicted on drug charges. She was reportedly caught distributing methamphetamine out of her home. She contracted COVID-19 at the end of April and passed away four weeks after giving birth her daughter.
The bureau suspended all inmate transfers in March, but Circle Bear was still transferred to another facility that same month. She was sent to a hospital a week later with concerns about her pregnancy.
On March 31, she returned to the hospital with a dry cough and fever. The next day, she was placed on a ventilator and gave birth to her daughter. Circle Bear passed away on April 28. The bureau said that she reportedly “had a pre-existing medical condition which the CDC lists as a risk factor for developing more severe COVID-19 disease.”
LeBeau said that she could not see her daughter when she came to pick up the baby and she was never updated on Circle Bear’s condition. “I just hope something could be done to help other families where they wouldn’t have to go through what I did,” LeBeau said.