NUECES COUNTY, Texas — Early during the coronavirus pandemic, one of the local hotspots was the Nueces County jail because the inmates and staff are in confined quarter by design.
It was no surprise that the infection rate there was a lot higher compared to the rest of the community. So what about now? Is COVID under control at the jail? The answer appears to be yes.
The numbers of COVID cases may be slowing down in our community, but have not stopped and are not behind bars.
"We have four inmates who have tested for the COVID," said Nueces County Sheriff JC Hooper. "And because they came from cell blocks and pods and dorm areas, we had to place those entire areas in quarantine for a period of time."
With the virus still in our jail, one resident, who wishes to stay anonymous, said she's concerned for a loved one who was booked into county a week ago.
"He [the inmate] told me 'My fever is 102.' It's going up and I'm sick."
Sheriff Hooper said every concern or compliant about an inmate's health is looked into by the correctional officers of the jail. If an inmate says they are not feeling well, they need to let an official know.
Once that report is made, the inmate will get the medical attention they need. He said so far, no hospitalizations have been necessary.
"If our medical health care provider is unable to treat an inmate for COVID or for anything in our facilities, they're quickly transferred to our hospital for treatment," Hooper said.
From the get-go, masks are provided and required, but making an inmate wear it, can be its own battle.
"When you have inmates that show disregard for their own safety and the safety of their fellow inmates and the safety of correctional officers, these aren't going to be inmates that are gonna be willing to wear a mask or wash their hands frequently," Hooper added.
Hooper said it's important to check on your loved ones who are behind bars whether that be accepting the phone call or visiting during visiting hours.
For the latest updates on coronavirus in the Coastal Bend, click here.
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