FD inmate dies from COVID-19
Prison infections increase 50% overnight
IOWA CITY — The first Fort Dodge Correctional Facility inmate to be hospitalized from COVID-19 this week died Monday evening, bringing Webster County’s death toll to three.
Ray Allen Vanlengen, 71, was pronounced dead at the University of Iowa Hospital at 10:59 p.m. He had been transported to Iowa City from the Fort Dodge prison due to the seriousness of his illness on Sunday.
The Johnson County Medical Examiner has conducted a review. An autopsy will not be performed.
Vanlengen had been serving a 100-year maximum sentence since December 1995 for four second-degree sexual abuse convictions from Black Hawk County. His discharge date would have been Jan. 17, 2039.
As of Monday, Vanlengen, who had preexisting conditions, was the only inmate hospitalized from a wave of COVID-19 that hit the Fort Dodge prison after the first positive inmate was discovered on Wednesday.
On Monday, 39 inmates had tested positive at the prison. On Tuesday, the number had grown over 50% to 61.
A total of five staff members have tested positive, though some had tested positive before the most recent outbreak.
After contact tracing, DOC authorities believe that the first inmate to contract COVID-19 was likely infected through exposure to an asymptomatic employee. In-person visitation at the prison has been suspended since the pandemic began. New inmates, intake of whom were suspended for about a month from April to May, are tested and quarantined thoroughly before being released into the general population.
All positive inmates have been placed in medical isolation, and all positive staff members are recovering at home. The prison will remain under a modified restricted movement status for the next several weeks to control the spread, Overton said.
“As we continue testing at the prison, we will see these numbers rise because inmates are in close quarters,” said Kari Prescott, director of Webster County Public Health.