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5 inmates, 9 staff members test positive for COVID-19 at Brazos County Jail

5 inmates, 9 staff members test positive for COVID-19 at Brazos County Jail

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The Brazos County Jail has five inmates in custody who have tested positive for COVID-19, and nine staff members also have contracted the virus, Brazos County Sheriff Chris Kirk said Tuesday.

Kirk said in addition to the five COVID-positive inmates, 15 inmates have been quarantined because they were exposed to someone with the virus or because they refused to be tested. Five employees have been quarantined because of possible exposure, he added.

Kirk said the COVID-19 cases have been primarily among the jail’s male inmates. Two of the five inmate cases involved people who tested positive before being booked into jail, while three contracted the disease while inside the jail. Kirk said the virus may have been brought into the jail by a staff member.

He noted that the affected employees were not staff members at the detention center, but “work crew staff, commissary and transport staff.”

Kirk said jail officials screen and survey inmates for the virus and segregate new inmates upon arrival.

Testing is not performed unless an inmate shows symptoms of coronavirus, though a group of nearly 60 people was tested three weeks prior due to perceived exposure, and one inmate from that group tested positive. Those infected with coronavirus are quarantined from the general population, Kirk said, and staff are required to wear masks. Inmates are not required to wear masks, but masks are provided.

The jail had a population of just under 590 people this week, he said.

In Leon County, Sheriff Kevin Ellis said no inmates and no staff have COVID-19. Some have experienced symptoms and were quarantined, but tested negative. He said the jail population Tuesday was 45; its maximum capacity is 52.

In Milam County, Sheriff Chris White said three inmates in his facility were considered COVID-19 positive and are under quarantine. One staff member is in recovery from the disease but is expected to return within a few days. Other staff members have been sent home either due to symptoms or proximity to loved ones with symptoms. Patrol deputies have stepped in to work at the jail and fill in any gaps in staffing due to quarantining. The jail population was at 145 inmates this week, with a maximum capacity of 160 people.

Burleson County Chief Deputy John Pollock said that his county’s jail has seen four positive cases among inmates, with two who have been released. Three jail staff members tested positive, though one has recovered.

In Madison County, Sheriff Travis Neely reported no inmates or staff members who have tested COVID-19 positive or even shown symptoms.

In Grimes County, Sheriff Don Sowell said no inmates have contracted the disease at the county jail. One employee self-quarantined after a family member tested positive.

The Washington County Jail has eight inmates who have tested positive, including two who are hospitalized. Thirteen inmates have been quarantined, according to a report from Sheriff Otto Hanak.

No staff members have been sick with the virus. Hanak said his jail’s population averages 100 inmates.

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