Death of 13th inmate on Rikers Island confirmed by Department of Corrections

The Department of Corrections says a 13th inmate has died while in custody on Rikers Island.
Officials say 64-year-old Victor Mercado died at Elmhurst Hospital Friday afternoon.
News 12 was told his death appeared to be medical in nature.
The medical examiner is investigating into the exact cause of death.
Public Advocate Jumaane Williams says Mercado's death came after he contracted COVID-19 in pre-trial detention.
He adds, "It is even more clear today that we must expand decarceration efforts to older individuals and those with health risks, but it also seems clear that if the city and state had done so earlier, a life would have been saved."