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Image provided by Richland County Sheriff's Department.

The Richland County Sheriff's Department announced Monday that Adrian Blakely-Phenizy, a data control specialist at the department, died of COVID-19.

Her death is the department's second employee death related to COVID-19. Blakely-Phenizy, age 55, tested positive for COVID Apr. 11 and was hospitalized Apr. 12. She died Apr. 23.

She was an employee of RCSD since the 1980s. “I knew Adrian long before I was Sheriff," Sheriff Leon Lott said. "I watched her grow up in the Sheriff’s Department. Adrian left RCSD for several years but returned in 2020... We were happy when she returned. She was always smiling and making people laugh.”

Her supervisor, Sergeant Catherine Smith, added that Adrian was a bright spirit to have in the records department. “Adrian was the kind of person that started every day with a grateful heart," Smith said. "Adrian had a personality that lit up the room and her death has left a void that cannot be replaced. The memories that we have of her will forever be cherished."

Sheriff Lott continues to encourage the public to take COVID-19 vaccinations.

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