Second California prison employee dies after catching virus

 A second California state prison employee has died after testing positive for the coronavirus, officials said Thursday.

The plant operations employee at Ironwood State Prison in eastern Riverside County died Wednesday, spokeswoman Dana Simas said. She released no additional information, citing the family’s privacy.

The first death of an employee who tested positive for the virus was California Rehabilitation Center Correctional Officer Danny Mendoza, 53, who died Saturday in the same county.

Nearly 400 department employees have tested positive, but nearly half of those have returned to work, the department said.

There are more than 2,200 inmates with active cases. Twelve inmates have died, all at the California Institution for Men in San Bernardino County.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death. The vast majority of people recover.