COVID-19 Infiltrates Hays County Jail Population

Staff Reports

As of Monday, Hays County Sheriff’s Office reported 36 inmates have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last week.

Captain Julie Villalpando spoke during the commissioners’ regular COVID-19 and local disaster declaration update on Tuesday.

Villalpando reported four inmates were tested for COVID after the Sheriff’s office regular temperature check identified they had slight fevers.

According to Villalpando, everyone in the residential block was offered testing and an additional 32 inmates tested positive but remain asymptomatic.

As of Tuesday morning, only three inmates were still showing symptoms.

In addition, Villalpando reported eight correctional officers have been diagnosed with the virus.

The Sheriff’s Office has 39 pending tests for correctional officers and another 35 pending tests for inmates.

“Unfortunately, we are taking every measure that we can to keep this from in our jail, but it is among us,” Villalpando said. “We continue to sanitize and do temperature checks.”

According to Villalpando, the office has provided inmates with masks and cleaning supplies for their individual cells; the common areas of the facility are sanitized twice a day with the entire living area sanitized once a week.

The sheriff’s office is also testing inmates before they are housed in the jail.

Villalpando reported staff attempted to test 55 inmates; approximately 30 inmates refused testing, and staff was only able to test 25. With the confirmation of multiple positive cases, inmates have expressed interest in receiving testing, and the sheriff’s office has offered it again. 

Villalpando said they are segregating inmates within the jail based on whether they tested positive, negative, are waiting on testing, or have refused testing.

“It’s hard to really do the six feet social distancing with inmates because we don’t have the space,” Villalpando said. “Of course, the future allows for that, and we will be able to control the situation better” when they are able to move into the new addition to the jail.

Villalpando said the number of cases is being recorded on a daily basis as required by the Texas Jail Standards.

Corridor News could not reach any individuals who recently visited or were released from the jail for their side of the story. 

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