SAN ANTONIO – In a matter of one month, the number of COVID-19 cases at the Dominguez State Jail outside San Antonio went from zero to 494, according to figures released this week by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
“The numbers at the Dominguez State Jail represent more information from mass testing of non-symptomatic offenders,” TDCJ said in a statement Wednesday.
TDCJ began mass testing after seeing an increase in symptomatic offenders. The testing allows the agency to separate and contain the virus within the facility. Positive offenders are monitored closely by medical staff.
The agency is also deploying additional disinfecting equipment throughout the state.
Despite those measures, the families of offenders say they are worried.
“It’s over 100 degrees in those metal buildings and they have fevers and they’re sick and they’re fighting symptoms,” said Daisy Busby, the wife of an offender. ”Yes, they’re prisoners OK? But they’re humans and they have rights.”
Busby said that TDCJ officials will not tell her if her husband is among the offenders who tested positive, citing privacy laws.
”The last time I spoke with him was 2 weeks ago, the day they cut off phones.” Busby said. “He had been fighting symptoms for a week at that point.”