Cameron County detention officers test positive for COVID-19

MGN Online

A total of 13 detention officers working in jail facilities operated by the Cameron County Sheriff’s Department have tested positive for coronavirus, according to the latest update from the department.

One of those officers has fully recovered. In a Facebook post on Thursday, the office wrote, “This brings our total numbers to 3 Deputies, 13 Detention Officers, and 5 civilian employees. We have 1 Detention Officer that has fully recovered and is medically cleared to return back for work.”

Of the four detention officers confirmed positive, three worked at the Carrizales-Rucker Detention Center and one worked at a downtown facility.

According to the latest report from the Texas Commission on Jail Standards, there were 627 inmates with active positive cases statewide as of Wednesday. Of that number,183 inmates were pending test results, while 3,598 state jail inmates had been quarantined or isolated, but were not infected.

Four inmates across the state are being treated offsite for active COVID-19 cases, while five inmates have died from coronavirus.

Across the state, jailers have also been testing positive, with a running total of 187 having active cases as of Wednesday. According to the numbers published by the Sheriff’s Department, 12 of those jailers with active cases are out of Cameron County. There are also tests pending, with 121 jailers quarantined or isolated pending their results across Texas.

The number of cases among both detention staff and sheriff’s deputies has been rising locally, but according to Sheriff Omar Lucio, staff is adhering to strict protocol in order to prevent spreading — measures like sanitizing vehicles as deputies enter and exit, masks, gloves, social distancing, and a medical triage tent at each of the four county jail facilities that screens all visitors for symptoms.

The department reported additional cases on Wednesday morning, including one detention officer at Carrizales and another at one of the department’s downtown facilities. “Immediate protocol was followed in an attempt to prevent spreading,” the office wrote.

“There was also two additional civilian staff that had tested positive back on June 15 that were not previously reported.”

The Sheriff’s Department was contacted for comment regarding whether any inmates have tested positive or are in quarantined inside county jail facilities, as well as what measures have been taken to protect both inmates and staff in local jails. As of Thursday afternoon, the department had not returned a request for comment.