Authorities probing how Dallas inmate contracted COVID-19

A lab technician begins semi-automated testing for COVID-19 at Northwell Health Labs on March 11 in Lake Success, New York. (Photo by Andrew Theodorakis/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

Health officials are working to determine how an inmate who has been in the Dallas County jail since late December contracted the coronavirus, the sheriff said Wednesday.

Dallas County Sheriff Marian Brown said the positive test for the inmate who is in his 40s was confirmed early Wednesday morning. The man is now being housed in "another facility,” Brown said.

It is the first known case of the virus in an inmate at the jail.

The man was housed in a shared pod with about 50 other inmates, the sheriff said. All the inmates in the shared area have now been screened for symptoms.

Of those, Brown said, four who showed symptoms are being quarantined and tested for COVID-19. She said the others don't have symptoms but are still being quarantined.

“The affected area will be cleaned and disinfected,” she said.

Brown said employees who had contact with the man who contracted the virus are being asked to self-quarantine.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.

In Texas, 974 cases of COVID-19 have been reported, along with 12 deaths.


Follow all of the AP's coronavirus news: