HUNTSVILLE, Tex. The following information was posted Sunday on the Texas Department of Criminal Justice web page:
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice continues to analyze the current situation of the COVID-19 pandemic and the guidance provided by health professionals including the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Starting today, the agency is distributing cotton masks manufactured by TDCJ to all staff. Those masks will be required for all personnel working at prison units and optional for those in administrative settings and parole officers in the field.
According to the CDC and the surgeon general of the US, these masks are not intended to be a replacement for six-foot social distancing but a supplement to those guidelines. Cotton masks do not protect the wearer from the virus but they can help stop the spread of the virus by the wearer.
An initial distribution of 50,000 masks that have been produced in TDCJ garment factories are in use now. Ten prison unit factories are working seven days a week now producing up to 20,000 additional masks a day.
The new guidelines will continue for at least the next several weeks or until no longer recommended by health professionals. Temperature screening of all persons entering prison units and many offices will continue with anyone with a fever of 100.4 degrees or higher being sent home to self-quarantine.
TDCJ also continues to receive results of COVID-19 testing in employees, contractors, and the offender population. The agency is now routing all testing through our Correctional Managed Healthcare Partner, The University of Texas Medical Branch. That is resulting in a much faster turn around times of tests as well as a higher degree of accuracy. As of today, there are new positive tests in 14 offenders and 5 staff or employees.
25 total staff/employee/contractor tests.
18 total positive offender tests by unit:
Beto - 6
Goree - 2
Jordan - 1
Lychner State Jail - 1
Murray - 4
Stringfellow - 2
Woodman State Jail - 2
As a result of these cases and other possible contact investigations, there are approximately 3,700 asymptomatic offenders in medical restriction and 51 offenders in medical isolation with positive or pending COVID-19 tests.
Offenders in medical restriction are also being issued the cotton masks to protect others from possible virus infection. Also as of today, medical restriction offenders are fully locked down instead of being restricted to their housing unit.
For the most current information please visit www.tdcj.texas.gov or our social media channels.