First inmate at Bexar County Jail tests positive for COVID-19, sheriff says

All 3,000 inmates will now wear surgical masks, BSCO says

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SAN ANTONIO – A man incarcerated in the Bexar County Jail on a family violence charge became the first inmate to test positive for COVID-19, according to the sheriff’s office.

Additionally, a public safety dispatcher has also tested positive for the virus in an unrelated case, the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office said on Friday.

The inmate, who had been in custody since March 11, reported COVID-19 symptoms to staff on April 9, and it was determined the inmate had a fever over 100 degrees, according to the news release.

He was placed in a negative pressure cell pending lab results, which came back positive. Officials did not say when the positive result was confirmed.

None of the other inmates housed with the patient have shown symptoms, but the sheriff’s office has requested to test all the inmates housed in the affected units. The areas the inmate has had contact with were all sanitized and disinfected.

“To further prevent the spread of COVID-19, the entire inmate population of around 3,000 inmates at the Bexar County Jail will be wearing surgical masks at all times and time restrictions inmates have in the dayroom will be put into place in an effort to maintain healthy distancing practices,” according to the news release.

The sheriff’s office has already taken several measures to try and contain the virus,

Bexar County Jail population down more than 500 inmates after release of nonviolent offenders

The deputies who worked the same living units as the inmate will be placed on leave while they self-monitor for symptoms, according to the sheriff’s office.

The dispatcher who tested positive has been at home since March 31 in quarantine since learning a family member was feeling sick, according to the news release.

“Due to the dispatcher not working since that day, health officials have informed us that employees who worked with this dispatcher are at low-risk of contracting COVID-19,” according to the news release.

As of Friday, a total of five Bexar County Sheriff’s Office employees have tested positive for COVID-19: three jailers, one video visitation civilian employee and one dispatcher. Five San Antonio police officers have also tested positive for the virus.

COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new virus, stands for coronavirus disease 2019. The disease first appeared in late 2019 in Wuhan, China, but spread around the world in early 2020, causing the World Health Organization to declare a pandemic in March.

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