23 inmates test positive for COVID-19 in Wichita County Detention Centers

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WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Wichita County Sheriff David Duke said inmates at the Wichita County Jail Annex may have contracted COVID-19 from an asymptomatic individual that has been released on bond. Along with those inmates, some detention officers may have contracted COVID-19 as well.

“We’ve done a fantastic job of keeping this out of the jail up until this last couple weeks obviously,” Duke said.

On July 17, a 61-year-old inmate at the jail annex tested positive for COVID-19. Duke said a former inmate that sat through the detention center’s 14 day quarantine period and has since been released on bond, may have infected the 61-year-old inmate, the rest of the general population and possibly some detention officers.

“We hope this the biggest outbreak that we have. We don’t want any more than this obviously. Because it not only affects the inmates but it also affects our staff and staffing as well as how many officers we have to have on the floor working with the inmates daily. That’s mandated by the Texas Jail Commission,” Duke said.

Duke also said the jail annex has 30 cells for inmates who test positive. All inmates who tested positive have not shown any symptoms and they also have detention officers monitoring them with personal protective equipment.

“It’s a full-time job for us trying to maintain this and all the people and everybody that’s involved in this. So we’re working it as hard as we can, we wanted to come out and do this release just so the media would know and the public would know,” Duke said.

Inmates that come into the annex are quarantined for 14 days and some inmates may be placed in another area before they are sent to the general population. But even with proper precautions, Duke and public health officials knew this day would come.

“This is one of the reasons that congregate settings and how we treat those are very important and we very actively work with a variety of government businesses to make sure that our congregate settings are protected. They’re our most vulnerable, it spreads the fastest, we have the most concern for those,” Wichita Falls-Wichita County Public Health District’s Assistant Director Amy Fagan said.

Wichita County detention officers are now having to work with inmates who have contracted COVID-19.

As of now, no more inmates have been tested. Inmates who begin to show symptoms of COVID-19 will be tested.

WICHITA COUNTY (KFDX/KJTL) — In a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, Sheriff David Duke announced that there are 23 COVID-19 cases in Wichita County Detention Centers.

Duke said that none of the inmates are showing major symptoms.

According to Duke, there is detention center staff who have tested positive for COVID-19 but will not reveal the number of staff who are positive.

One case of COVID-19 was announced on July 20, 2020. An inmate who had been in custody for over a year tested positive after a physician requested it during a medical appointment.

The 23 positives will be included in Tuesday’s COVID-19 count for Wichita County.

Stick with Texoma’s Homepage as this story develops.

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