Correctional officer, Weirton resident, dies from COVID
CHARLESTON — State officials on Monday reported the death of a second West Virginia correctional officer from the COVID-19 virus.
Lt. Delmar Dean, 49, of Weirton, died on Saturday, Gov. Jim Justice, said Monday morning during his regular pandemic briefing. Dean is survived by his wife of 15 years and two daughters, 13 and 10.
“Think about his family,” Justice said. “Please. Please. Please keep all of them in your prayers.”
Dean was an officer at the Northern Regional Jail and Correctional Center in Moundsville.
He is the second correctional officer in West Virginia to die from the virus. The first was Cpl Mark Rustemeyer, 58, an officer at the St. Marys Correctional Center, who died on Jan. 2.
Dean worked for the Division of Corrections for 26 years and had battled the virus for several months.
“The state of West Virginia and the entire (Division of Corrections) family are grieving this tragic loss,” corrections Commissioner Betsy Jividen said.
Division-wide, there are 43 inmate cases and 14 staff infected with the virus, Justice said. Most of the cases are at the Southern Regional jail with 24, and 11 are at the Northern Regional jail, he said.
Others are scattered at the other jails around the state, he said.
Justice and Dr. Clay Marsh, the state’s coronavirus czar, cited the decreases in the number of new infections, hospitalizations, active cases and deaths. However, they cautioned residents to remain vigilant and continue to wear a mask, social distance and get a vaccination.
And pay no attention to people who won’t get a vaccination or encourage others not to do so, according to Justice.
“Get this taboo out of your mind, that there’s something bad going to happen with you on the vaccine. That you’re going to get to get COVID or you’re going to grow another arm or some crazy stuff,” Justice said. “Don’t listen to that crazy stuff. We need you to get vaccinated.”
The governor also encouraged residents to get a test upon the first signs of infection because early treatment will save lives, he said.
(Mancini can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)