Man dies of coronavirus 4 days after bonding out of Jefferson County jail custody

A man died of COVID-19 four days after bonding out of the custody of the Jefferson County jail — the second Colorado jail inmate to die days after release.

The man transferred to the Jefferson County facility from the Denver jail system on April 16, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Mike Taplin said in an email. The man was then transferred to a hospital on April 25 for respiratory issues before bonding out of custody on April 28.

The man, who tested positive for COVID-19, died four days after bonding out, Taplin said. The sheriff’s office will not release the identity of the man.

Taplin said it’s unclear whether the man contracted COVID-19 at the Jefferson County jail or elsewhere, and that a public health investigation will determine where the infection happened. The Denver jails also are sites of COVID-19 outbreaks.

But state health officials connected the death to the outbreak at the jail, he said. Outbreak data released Wednesday by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment attributed the death to the Jeffco jail outbreak.

“Although the inmate was not in custody at the time of death, because of the link to the outbreak, there is that one death statistic,” Taplin said.

State outbreak data released Wednesday shows that 22 inmates at the Jefferson County jail have tested positive for the coronavirus and eight more are presumed positive. A staff member at the jail also has tested positive for COVID-19.

The May 2 death is the second connected to outbreaks at Colorado jails. Another man, 78-year-old Charles Peterson, died on April 1 after being released from the Weld County jail two days earlier. Staff at the re-entry center he had been released to said in court filings that Peterson tested positive for COVID-19.

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