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A hospitalized Oklahoma County Jail detainee diagnosed with COVID-19 died at St. Anthony Hospital Tuesday morning according to a Jail press release.

It is the first known death of a Jail detainee who tested positive for COVID-19. It has not been determined if he died from the disease.

Clarence Steven Merrell, a 64-year-old Black male, had been booked into the jail June 26 on felony drug and firearm charges but never made it to court. The original press release misstated his age as 65.

oklahoma County jail
Booking photo, Clarence Steven Merrell, now deceased, provided by the Oklahoma County Jail.

The Jail’s first detainee to test positive was on June 1. Currently, there are 44 detainees who have tested positive according to Jail spokesperson Mac Mullings.

And, three medical personnel have tested positive for COVID-19. Numbers of Jail staff who have tested positive were not available at publication.

Merrell was sent to the hospital by jail medical staff July 23 for low oxygen levels and then tested positive for COVID-19 while undergoing treatment.

The press release states that Merrell was “oxygen dependent and under doctor’s care on the medical floor during his entire stay.”

Jail administration and hospital personnel continued to communicate with Merrell’s family members during his stay according to the press release.

The OSBI and Medical Examiner’s Office were notified as required by law. Jail administrators say “no foul play was indicated in Merrell’s death.”