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Sheriff Hooper: 87 inmates now cleared of the coronavirus, some jail employees refuse testing

Sheriff Hooper provided an update on the employees and inmates at the Nueces County Jail at today’s Commissioners Court meeting.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Officials continue to be on high alert as they monitor the number of coronavirus cases in the Nueces County Jail. Sheriff JC Hooper briefed Nueces County Commissioners on the situation today.

A total of 56 correctional officers have tested positive for COVID-19 and another 23 are symptomatic.

Many people with the department have been tested at private facilities. The sheriff said many people have refused to get tested. 

Sheriff Hooper said he will not force his employees to be tested. Currently, there are no orders or laws mandating jail employees be tested.

More testing took place at the Annex today. Sheriff Hooper said the jail environment does not allow for much social distancing. 

“Socially distancing is next to impossible in a correctional facility," Hooper said. "We are doing our best. Masking inmates is extremely difficult in a correctional facility. Every single inmate and every single correctional officer. Correctional officers are mandated. I can tell them to wear a mask, I can make them wear a mask, but those inmates you can not force them to wear a mask."

34 inmates at the main jail are at high risk with comorbidities issues. Eight of those inmates tested positive for the virus and according to the sheriff they are asymptomatic.

For the latest updates on coronavirus in the Coastal Bend, click here.

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