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Scott G Winterton, KSL, File

Utah State Prison: Inmate dies after altercation with another prisoner

By Annie Knox, KSL | Updated - Sep. 29, 2020 at 5:33 p.m. | Posted - Sep. 29, 2020 at 5:15 p.m.

DRAPER — An inmate at the Utah State Prison has died after state corrections officials say he had some sort of altercation with a fellow prisoner late Monday evening.

The prison released scant details in a prepared statement about the death of Raymond Keith Payne, 66.

The confrontation occurred in the state’s Oquirrh Facility at the prison’s Draper site, which holds many of the state’s older offenders.

The inmate death reported Tuesday is not suspected to be related to COVID-19, the prison said.

However, the announcement comes as a coronavirus outbreak at the Draper location has spread since it was identified Sept. 23, with a total of 45 confirmed COVID-19 cases in one wing. Separately, two new inmates tested positive.

The prison said Tuesday on its website that it suspects those who fell sick within its walls contracted the virus from a health care provider who treated several inmates. The medical worker was wearing full personal protective equipment, according to the prison.

The employee was not showing symptoms at the time but tested positive for the virus a short time later.

The prison said each inmate treated by the provider has been tested and is in isolation but did not say how many came into contact with the employee.

The outbreak is the first among the prison’s general population. Until last week, each confirmed case came from new inmates who tested upon arrival and were quarantined for 14 days.

The Draper and Gunnison sites are in “modified lockdown,” restricting where inmates can go within the buildings and where they can recreate.

Mike Haddon, executive director for the Utah Department of Corrections, said the agency worked diligently to prevent the virus from spreading within the prison.

“We are genuinely concerned about the possible transmission of this virus, which is why we are following and exceeding CDC recommendations and working with local health officials to contain any potential outbreak,” he said.

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