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Prisoner dies of COVID-19 at federal prison in Terre Haute

Terre Haute Federal Prison.PNG
Posted at 10:05 PM, Dec 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-08 22:05:52-05

TERRE HAUTE — A prisoner at the Federal Correctional Institution Terre Haute has died from COVID-19, the Bureau of Prisons announced Tuesday.

According to a report from the Bureau of Prisons, James Lee Wheeler, 78, tested positive for COVID-19 on Nov. 17 at the prison in Terre Haute and was placed in medical isolation. Prison medical staff evaluated Wheeler on Nov. 25 for confusion and decreased oxygen saturation and on the same day he was transported to a local hospital for further evaluation and treatment.

Prison officials said Wheeler died at the hospital on Monday. The Bureau of Prison said Wheeler had long-term, pre-existing conditions that are listed by the CDC as risk factors for developing more severe COVID-19 disease.

Wheeler was serving a life sentence following convictions in the Middle District of Florida and Northern District of Ohio for obstruction of justice, racketeer influenced and corrupt organizations prohibited activities, and conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine, methamphetamine, LSD, marijuana, ecstasy an valium. Wheeler had been housed at FCI Terre Haute since May 22, 2017.

According to the Bureau of Prisons website, there are 6,440 federal inmates and 1,647 Bureau of Prisons staff members who have confirmed cases of COVID-19. There have been 153 federal inmate deaths and two federal staff member deaths from COVID-19.

The Bureau of Prisons said there have been 198 inmates and 18 staff members with confirmed COVID-19 cases at the medium-security FCI Terre Haute and 128 inmates and three staff members at the high-security United States Penitentiary Terre Haute.