Federal inmate in Memphis dies after contracting COVID-19

WASHINGTON, DC — A 54-year old inmate at the Federal Correctional Institution in Memphis died after contracting COVID-19, according to a release from the U.S. Department of Justice Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Harry Edward Cunningham was serving a 72-month sentence for Bank Robbery and Hobbs Act Robbery. He had been in custody at FCI Memphis since August 26, 2020.

According to the release, on Sunday, December 20, 2020, Cunningham tested positive for COVID-19 and was placed in medical isolation.

On Tuesday, December 29, he was converted to a status of recovered following the completion of medical isolation and presenting with no symptoms.

On Sunday, January 10, 2021, Cunningham was evaluated by medical staff and then taken to a local hospital for “paracentesis for massive ascites.” Ascites is the accumulation of fluid in the peritoneal cavity, causing abdominal swelling. A paracentesis is done when a person has a swollen abdomen, pain, or problems breathing because there is too much fluid in the abdomen.

On Tuesday, January 12, Cunningham, who had long-term pre-existing medical conditions, which the CDC lists as risk factors for developing more severe COVID-19 disease, was pronounced deceased by hospital staff.