A Monroe corrections officer has died from COVID-19

The state Department of Corrections says Berisford Anthony Morse, 65, died in the line of duty.

Correctional officer Berisford Anthony Morse

Correctional officer Berisford Anthony Morse

MONROE — A veteran corrections officer who worked at the prison in Monroe has died from complications of COVID-19, state officials announced Monday evening.

Correctional officer Berisford Anthony Morse, 65, died Sunday.

“It is a tragedy to lose a member of our public safety community and correctional family,” said Stephen Sinclair, the state secretary of corrections. “It is with deep sadness that we announce the loss of Correctional Officer Berisford Morse due to COVID-19. Our hearts go out to Officer Morse’s grieving family and the sacrifice they have made.”

Morse worked for the Department of Corrections since October 2003. That included time as a correctional officer at Monroe Correctional Complex and as a non-permanent community corrections officer for seven months in 2013.

Morse worked in the Minimum Security Unit of the Monroe complex. That part of the prison has had 14 positive cases of COVID-19 within the incarcerated population.

Morse last worked at the prison on the morning of April 24. That evening he contacted the shift commander to report he had symptoms of COVID-19, and was going to seek medical attention and get tested, Department of Corrections officials wrote in a Monday press release. The prison was notified April 27 that Morse had tested positive for COVID-19.

Corrections staff conducted contact tracing and notified any individuals who were determined to be close contacts. On April 12, Morse was identified through contact tracing as having been exposed to a COVID-19 positive inmate at the Minimum Security Unit.

The Department of Corrections is classifying Morse’s death as being in the line of duty. It will consult with several agencies and organizations, including the Public Safety Officers’ Benefits Program, National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, Washington State Law Enforcement Memorial-Behind the Badge Foundation and the state Department of Labor & Industries.

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