40 Inmates, 5 Officers Test Positve for COVID-19 in El Paso Jails
Being cooped up in close proximity is kind of a given when it comes to being in prison. That's kind of the point. That doesn't bode well for preventing a spread of COVID-19. There were some states that were actually letting inmates out for fear of a COVID-19 outbreak.
As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to increase in El Paso, the prisons are seeing an increase as well. There were 37 inmates in the downtown prison that have tested positive, and there were three inmates that tested positive at the jail annex in far east El Paso. As for the officers, there were four in the downtown prison and one in the jail annex that have tested positive for COVID-19.
Sheriff Richard Wiles addressed the issue:
All of them so far, although they’re still working on doing (contact tracing), are people that have been booked and it is believed they brought it in from the outside. So there is no outbreak at the jails that we’re aware of.
If an inmate tests positive for COVID-19, they are isolated from the rest of the population and any new inmate is quarantined for 14 days.
Wiles went on to say:
We have medical staff 24/7 at both of our facilities so they’re getting medical treatment. And they’re also being checked as per jail standards. So somebody is checking on them every 30 minutes as required by the Texas jail standards.
University Medical Center provides testing at the jail and they're working with the city's Department of Public Health to figure out why there's a delay in getting the test results.