Hidalgo County’s Texas Department of Criminal Justice prisons lead the state in the total number of active COVID-19 cases, state jail records show.
The Lopez Unit in Edinburg has a total of 553 active COVID-19 cases, according to TDCJ’s website while the Segovia Unit has a total of 334 for a combined 887 cases at the jail complex off of Cibolo Road.
Both prisons are on lockdown as of Monday afternoon, according to TDCJ records.
There are 4,298 active cases in TDCJ’s 106 units with 101, or 95%, having active cases, according to the state jail system.
“The Lopez Unit has now had two rounds of mass testing of all asymptomatic offenders and staff. The first was in May when 899 offenders were tested,” said Jeremy Diesel, TDCJ’s director of communications. “Most recently mass testing occurred there from July 25-28 when 934 were tested.”
Diesel says TDCJ is conducting rounds of mass testing to areas that are experiencing increased cases in the community around TDCJ units and in units that “may have an increase in symptomatic case positive results.”
As of Sunday, Hidalgo County has had 17,353 positive cases with 4,649 of those being active. Hidalgo County, which is estimated to at least have a population of 881,000 as of the 2010 U.S. Census, has the sixth highest number of cases in the state, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.
The Lopez Unit has a capacity of holding 1,100 inmates, according to TDCJ, which means with 553 active cases, half the prison’s population, or 50.27%, has tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
So far, 18 people serving time in Lopez have recovered. They are not included in the percentage of active cases.
At the Segovia Unit, which, according to TDCJ, has a capacity to hold 1,228 people in prison, 27.2% of the population there has tested positive for COVID-19.
As of Monday, 14 people incarcerated in Segovia have recovered. Those individuals are not included in the percentage of active cases.
TDCJ also reports that a total of 66 employees at both Lopez and Segovia currently have contracted the novel coronavirus, with 36 active cases in Segovia and 30 active cases at Lopez.
The state prison system’s website says Segovia has 233 employees, which means with 36 active coronavirus cases, roughly 15% of employees currently have the disease.
As for Lopez, TDCJ’s website says it has 257 employees. So with 30 active employee cases, about 11.6% of employees currently have COVID-19.
As of Monday afternoon, 13 employees at Segovia had recovered from the virus while 15 at Lopez had recovered. Those individuals are not included in the percentage of employees currently diagnosed with the novel coronavirus.
The state’s prison system also reports that 1,366 people incarcerated at Segovia and Lopez are currently in medical restriction, with 821 of those in restriction being at Segovia and 545 being at Lopez.
According to TDCJ’s methodology and definitions for its statistics, medical restriction means “the restriction of the movement of well offenders, who may have been exposed to COVID-19, for monitoring.”
There are a total of 893 people incarcerated at both facilities who are in medical isolation, according to TDCJ records.
This means “the isolation of offenders who are pending the results of a COVID-19 test or who have tested positive for COVID-19 and have not been medically cleared,” according to the state prison system’s methodology and definitions for the statistics.
The only other units currently close to the Lopez and Segovia units in active cases include the Cotulla, Daniel, Ferguson and Havins units, according to TDCJ records.
The Ferguson Unit, located in Midway, Texas, has 377 active cases while the Havins Unit in Brownwood, Texas, has 282 active cases.
The Daniel Unit in Snyder, Texas, has 251 active cases while the Cotulla Unit in Cotulla, Texas, has 224 cases.
All other TDCJ jails in the state have fewer than 200 active cases as of early Monday afternoon, according to TDCJ records.