KEY POINTS

  • A Rikers Island inmate has died after testing positive for COVID-19 Sunday
  • The prisoner became the first inmate sentenced in New York to die from the virus
  • The 53-year-old convict passed away at Bellevue Hospital after he was transferred from the infamous Big Apple facility
  • An anonymous official said the inmate had been sentenced on Rikers Island since February 28 before he was transferred to the said hospital on March 26

A Rikers Island inmate became the first prisoner based in New York to die from COVID-19 Sunday.

The 53-year-old convict passed away at Bellevue Hospital after he was transferred from the infamous Big Apple facility, said the New York Post, citing a statement from Department of Corrections spokesperson Peter Thorne.

Thorne extended the Department's condolences to the inmate's family, adding that their number priority is still the “safety and well-being of those in custody.”

Charged Woman Is Held At Rikers Island The 42-year-old woman who killed her mother and grandmother is currently being held at Rikers Island. In this image, a woman walks by a sign at the entrance to Rikers Island on March 31, 2017, New York City. Photo: Getty Images/Spencer Platt

The New York Times pointed that an anonymous official said the inmate had been sentenced on Rikers Island since February 28 before he was transferred to the said hospital on March 26.

As of Sunday, at least 273 inmates, 321 correction employees and 52 healthcare workers have tested positive for COVID-19. Four corrections employees have died since, according to the outlet.

New York City officials have released at least 200 inmates in order to slow down the spread of the virus among detainees, most of which are crammed inside prison blocks.

This also came in the wake of Brooklyn attorney Scott Hechinger's revelation about the horrid conditions inmates are facing while serving their sentence.

Hechinger said in his March 26 tweet that unless Mayor Bill de Blasio, Governor Andrew Cuomo and District Attorneys “do something ASAP,” New York City will face “mass deaths” among prisoners.

Among those that the legal counsel pointed is that those who are “trapped” on Rikers are sleeping so close to each other that they can “reach out and touch the next person.” In addition, inmates are being served food on dirty food trays, share one toilet with 29 other detainees and those who wanted to be tested for COVID-19 are not getting tested.