AUSTIN, Texas - The Travis County Sheriff's Office says a corrections officer has tested positive for COVID-19.
The officer was assigned to a building in the Travis County Correctional Complex and immediately reported the positive diagnosis to Human Resources, says TCSO. The officer did follow agency guidelines by wearing a mask and maintaining social distancing.
Austin Public Health has advised that the steps taken at TCSO jail facilities are still sound and that because the officer's interaction with staff and inmates was so limited, there is no need to make protocol changes.
TCSO says it's continuing to follow all CDC guidelines regarding safety precautions and COVID-19 testing. There are still no confirmed cases of COVID-19 among the inmate population. As of April 17, there are 10 inmates in quarantine and 183 in isolation.
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TCSO says the differences between quarantine and isolation is that quarantine houses inmates experiencing virus-like illness symptoms in single-occupancy cells where they are seen twice a day by medical professionals until cleared and isolation is for all newly booked and healthy inmates, who are held in single-occupancy cells for the first 10-14 days as a precaution against COVID-19 entering the jail's general population. This process was implemented on March 30 with approval from the Texas Commission on Jail Standards.
Fourteen inmates have been tested for COVID-19, with 11 testing negative and three pending.
The Travis County Jail and Correctional Complex continues to exercise prevention methods in an effort to keep the virus from infecting employees and inmates. Those efforts include, but are not limited to:
- Following CDC guidelines as they are issued
- Enhancing sanitation procedures in all facilities
- Posting information in inmate units concerning social distancing, handwashing, and COVID FAQ’s
- Temperature screening of staff at all points of entry to jail facilities and for parolee returns to CCB
- New housing unit for age 65+ and the medically compromised
- Waiving all sick call fees pertaining to symptoms of the virus or the flu
- Video with COVID-19 information has been created to ensure all inmates can also hear from professionals
- Inmates in isolation receive their meals on disposable styrofoam trays with paper spoons
- All family visitation is via kiosk/table and the cost of video visitation has been discounted by 50%.
- Virtual courtrooms are fully active and other official/confidential visits are conducted virtually
- Tablets are in use by all general population inmates
- Social distancing protocols are in place with designated markings in strategically placed locations
- Additional hand sanitizing stations in high traffic areas
- Installed sink in TCCB sally port for hand washing
- Installed Plexiglas barriers in booking, front visitation at TCCC, HSB clinic /medical units, and medical areas of booking
- HEPA Air Scrubbers in quarantine units and booking
- Implemented the use of chemical foggers and sprayers for area decontamination
- Restricted all non-essential staff, partners and volunteers from coming in to the jail to reduce potential exposures
- Implemented processes for behavioral health staff to see patients remotely
FOX 7 Austin is working to keep you up to date with coronavirus, with both local and national developments. Every weekday we're live at 1 p.m. with a special show reporting the latest news, prevention tips and treatment information.
You can also get the latest COVID-19 news from around the country at coronavirusnow.com.