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Federal inmate dies from coronavirus after giving birth on ventilator

Federal inmate dies from coronavirus after giving birth on ventilator

A 30-year-old federal inmate who gave birth on a ventilator in early April has died due to complications from COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, the Federal Bureau of Prisons said Tuesday

Andrea Circle Bear, who had a pre-existing medical condition, is believed to be the first female federal inmate to die of the respiratory disease. The 30-year-old woman was in custody serving a 26-month sentence for maintaining a drug-involved premises. 

She was transferred on March 20 to FMC Carswell, a federal prison medical facility in Fort Worth, Texas, for female inmates with unique medical and mental health needs. She was immediately quarantined upon her arrival. 

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Just a week after being transferred to the facility, Circle Bear was admitted to a hospital due to concerns about her pregnancy, the Bureau of Prisons said. While she was discharged the same day, Circle Bear was transferred back to the hospital on March 31 after experiencing a fever, dry cough and other symptoms. 

Circle Bear was placed on a ventilator, and she gave birth to her son by caesarean section a day later. She was confirmed to have COVID-19 on April 4. Hospital staff pronounced her dead on Tuesday, the Bureau of Prisons said. 

The outbreak of the novel coronavirus in the U.S. has led to increasing calls for states to significantly reduce the size of the population inside its prisons and jails, which have emerged as hot spots for the virus's spread. More than 1,300 federal inmates have tested positive for COVID-19 and at least 30 have died from it.

In early April, Attorney General William BarrBill BarrGarland rescinds Trump-era memo curtailing consent decrees Boehner: Trump 'stepped all over their loyalty' by lying to followers Dominion: Ex-Michigan state senator 'sowing discord in our democracy' with election fraud claims MORE directed the Bureau of Prisons to expand the list of inmates eligible for early release. The agency says that it has placed roughly 1,750 people in home confinement since Barr's order was issued. Critics say the agency isn't doing enough to protect inmates. 

"Andrea Circle Bear is the 30th person in federal custody to die. This is a preventable tragedy," Rep. Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyPelosi on power in DC: 'You have to seize it' FDA ends restrictions on mailing abortion pills during pandemic Tlaib: US policing 'intentionally racist,' can't be reformed MORE (D-Mass.) said on Twitter. "Every day [the Bureau of Prisons] refuses to decarcerate is one more family robbed of a loved one – one more child robbed of a parent. You can’t social distance in a prison."