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8th Butner prison inmate dies of COVID-19

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BUTNER — A 59-year-old inmate at the federal prison complex in Butner died Friday of complications related to COVID-19.

Jerry Lynn Dempsey was the eighth inmate to die from the coronavirus, but the seventh whose death was reported toward Granville County’s total. Some of the prison’s cases are reported to Durham County.

Dempsey had underlying health conditions that made him at risk to the virus, the U.S. Bureau of Prisons said in a news release. He went into respiratory failure April 21 and was taken to a hospital. He tested positive for the virus the following day and was put on a ventilator April 24.

Dempsy was serving an 11 year sentence out of California for drug sales.

All COVID-19-related deaths in Granville County are associated with the prison, which has an outbreak of the coronavirus. As of Tuesday, there were 366 inmates and staff who had tested positive.

Of those, 239 have recovered.

Only 95 of the prison’s cases have been counted toward Granville County’s statistics, with the remainder counting toward Durham County’s.