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Brazos County Detention Center inmate with COVID-19 dies at hospital
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Brazos County Detention Center inmate with COVID-19 dies at hospital

Second inmate, sheriff’s deputy also in hospital

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An inmate at the Brazos County Detention Center died Tuesday morning in a local hospital after battling COVID-19, Brazos County Sheriff Chris Kirk said.

Kirk told county commissioners on Tuesday morning a sheriff’s deputy and a second detention center inmate are hospitalized for complications related to COVID-19. Kirk said in an interview the two had been hospitalized recently.

“I ask for you to keep that family [of the deceased] in your prayers, and to offer prayers for the deputy and the other inmate in the hospital, for a complete and full recovery,” Kirk said during the Commissioners Court meeting.

The inmate who died, a 49-year-old man, had been booked into the jail in March. The inmate only recently began showing coronavirus symptoms and was quarantined and tested, Kirk said. The inmate’s test results were returned as positive on Aug. 2,

and he was hospitalized that day. The inmate died at 9:45 a.m. Tuesday.

In respect for the inmate’s right to privacy, Kirk declined to release details about his physical regression and/or potential preexisting conditions.

“We have identified those inmates in higher risk categories, and those folks have been separated,” Kirk said. “Or, if appropriate, they have been released on bond. I believe that every inmate in our custody has had medical assessments so that we would know those who are at risk.”

According to a previous Eagle article, all newly admitted inmates are tested for coronavirus, regardless of whether symptoms are present or whether an inmate may have been exposed to the virus.

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“It’s difficult to say it’s [working well], because we have an outbreak,” Kirk said. “The virus has gotten into our jail.”

While the detention center’s active coronavirus case count had reached 44 inmates and eight staff members last week, Kirk said the jail has seen a decline in numbers this week, with 12 active inmate cases, and seven active cases among jail officers.

“A reduction in jail population has been helpful, and we continue to look for opportunities to do that,” Kirk said.

Last week, the Brazos County District Attorney’s Office approve the personal recognizance bonding out of 38 non-violent inmates awaiting trial, in order to reduce population at the request of the sheriff’s office. As of Tuesday, about 555 inmates remain at the detention center.

The BCSO is following Centers for Disease Control guidelines regarding COVID-19, Kirk said, and his team is receiving best practice help through the Texas Commission on Jail Standards by reviewing results from other jails’ practices.

At the moment, Kirk said his jail has enough cells to accommodate quarantining, and he hasn’t received any complaints from the staff about inmates refusing to wear the face masks provided them.

“We are taxing our resources, but we are capable at keeping up at this point,” he said.

Kirk noted that one member of the BCSO administrative staff recently tested positive for coronavirus, and as a result that person and two additional administrative staff members are quarantined at home. No deputies on patrol are actively infected at this time, he said.

“This virus changes by the hour, as [far as] what works and what doesn’t work,” Kirk stated. “It’s just a very tragic situation and loss for us, and for [the deceased’s] family. It’s had an impact on our staff, and I’m sure it’s made the inmates and their families worried about the virus. ... This is very distressing for me and all of our staff.”

The first jail inmate to test positive at the detention center was diagnosed in early June.

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