Lansing Correctional Facility generic aerial shot

LANSING, KS (KCTV/AP) -- A coronavirus outbreak that has infected hundreds of people at the largest prison in Kansas has claimed the life of a second employee, the state Corrections Department said Wednesday.

DOC Secretary Jeff Zmuda said the staff member was a 50-year-old man with nearly 20 years of service in the department.

“This has been an extremely difficult week for our agency and staff,” Zmuda said. “We are devastated and extend our condolences to the family, friends and coworkers of this dedicated public servant.”

Three inmates from the Lansing Correctional Facility already had died of the virus before the second employee succumbed Tuesday, department spokeswoman Rebecca Witte said.

The first staff member at the facility to be killed by the virus has been identified by relatives as 61-year-old George “Bernie” Robare, a former Marine and longtime Corrections Department guard.

His wife, Susan Robare, said she worried that he wouldn't be able to fight off the virus when he tested positive last month because he had survived leukemia and a disease that caused him to have his esophagus removed, The Kansas City Star reports.

“I think because his body’s been through so much, I just felt it,” she said.

Everyone at Lansing is being tested. So far, 88 staff members and 728 inmates have tested positive. Of the inmates who have the virus, nearly 92% of them had no symptoms. The prison housed about 1,710 inmates as of Monday. The infected have been separated from those who have not tested positive.

Six other Kansas corrections facilities have reported cases, with nine more staff members and six inmates infected.

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