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TDCJ COVID-19 Continues Decline

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Beto, Eastham, Michael Cases Remain Low

By Will Johnson

Messenger Reporter

EAST TEXAS –The Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) is a major employer in both Anderson and Houston Counties. Prison facilities employ a significant number of workers and there are at least 20 prisons in the area to where people commute on a daily basis, including units in Huntsville, Rusk and Tennessee Colony.

Even though some prisons throughout the state have not yet seen a case of COVID-19, quite a few others have. After spiking at the end of May, the numbers have shown a steady decrease in the month of June. 

On June 4, there were 4,570 positive cases of COVID-19. A week later, prison officials reported the number of offenders testing positive for the virus had fallen to 3,520. This week on June 25, the latest update reflected 617 active cases as well as an additional 6,625 recoveries. 

The Messenger first started tracking COVID-19 cases within the prison population on April 16. At that time there had been 531 tests administered which revealed 327 positive cases and 204 negative results. There were also 31 pending tests on April 16. 

Three weeks later – on May 7 – the numbers showed a drastic increase. There were 244 pending tests. Of the other 1,536 tests given to offenders, there were 965 positive results and 571 negative results.

The numbers continued to climb as TDCJ reported the total number of positive cases had gone from 3,408 on May 28 to 4,570 active cases on Thursday, June 4.

The number of TDCJ employees testing positive for COVID-19 has also decreased since the beginning of June. The high-water mark came on June 4 with 991 employees testing positive. By June 11, there were only 386 active cases among employees. This week on Thursday, June 25, TDCJ reported 385 active cases among employees as well as 908 recoveries.

When The Messenger first started tracking the TDCJ numbers on April 16, 158 employees and contract staff had tested positive for the virus while 647 tested negative. There are also 259 pending tests.

By May 7, 535 TDCJ employees had tested positive for the virus. Nearly 1,524 had tested negative and there were 424 pending tests. Three weeks later on May 28, 888 TDCJ employees had tested positive for the virus.

There are six regions in the TDCJ system along with private facilities, a multi-use facility and parole confinement facilities. Anderson County and Houston County fall in Region II and Region I, respectively.

In Region I there are 13 prison units, with one inside of Houston County and seven more relatively close to the county boundaries. These units are: Eastham; Ellis; Estelle; Ferguson; Goree; Holliday; Huntsville; and Wynne. 

In Region II there are also 13 prison units, with five inside of Anderson County. These units are: Beto; Coffield; Gurney Transfer; Michael; and Powledge.

Using the TDCJ categories of offender pending tests, negative tests, positive tests, medical restriction and medical isolation, the 13 area prisons showed the following results.  

In Region I: 

  • Eastham Unit (Lovelady) – On June 25, there were: 0 active cases; 103 recoveries; and 1 offender in medical isolation. There was also 1 active case among TDCJ employees and 18 recoveries. Beginning on April 16, there were: 0 pending; 1 negative test; 0 positive tests; 0 medical restriction; and 0 medical isolation. On May 28, there were: 20 positive tests; 56 recoveries; 741 negative tests; 934 medical restriction; and 20 medical isolation. There were also 17 TDCJ employees who tested positive for COVID-19. By June 11, there were: 21 active cases; 84 recoveries; and 22 offenders in medical isolation. There were also 6 active cases among TDCJ employees and 15 recoveries.
  • Ellis Unit (Huntsville area) – On June 25, there were: 0 active cases; 326 recoveries; and 1 offender in medical isolation. There were also 9 active case among TDCJ employees and 37 recoveries. Beginning on April 16, there were: 8 pending; 15 negative tests; 61 positive tests; 106 medical restriction; and 1 medical isolation. On May 28, there were: 75 recoveries; 1,319 negative tests; 193 positive tests; 1,846 medical restriction; and 193 medical isolation. There were also 28 TDCJ employees who tested positive for COVID-19. By June 11, there were: 27 active cases; 305 recoveries; and 28 offenders in medical isolation. There were also 13 active cases among TDCJ employees and 31 recoveries.
  • Estelle Unit (Huntsville area) – On June 25, there were: 25 active cases; 411 recoveries; and 10 offenders in medical isolation. There were also 7 active case among TDCJ employees and 30 recoveries. Beginning on April 16, there were: 6 pending; 63 negative tests; 52 positive tests; 1,487 medical restriction; and 5 medical isolation. There were also 6 TDCJ employees who tested positive for COVID-19. On May 28, there were: 54 recoveries; 1,690 negative tests; 227 positive tests; 1,411 medical restriction; and 232 medical isolation. There were also 10 TDCJ employees who tested positive for COVID-19. By June 11, there were: 261 active cases; 163 recoveries; and 271 offenders in medical isolation. There were also 4 active cases among TDCJ employees and 28 recoveries.
  • Ferguson Unit (Midway) – On June 25, there were: 0 active cases; 5 recoveries; and 0 offenders in medical isolation. There were also 0 active case among TDCJ employees and 2 recoveries. Beginning on April 16, there were: 0 pending; 0 negative tests; 0 positive tests; 0 medical restriction; and 0 medical isolation. On May 28, there were: 0 recoveries; 0 negative tests; 0 positive tests; 0 medical restriction; and 0 medical isolation. By June 11, there were: 6 active cases; 0 recoveries; and 6 offenders in medical isolation.
  • Goree Unit (Huntsville) – On June 25, there were: 0 active cases; 47 recoveries; and 0 offenders in medical isolation. There were also 4 active case among TDCJ employees and 6 recoveries. Beginning on April 16, there were: 0 pending; 1 negative tests; 2 positive tests; 62 medical restriction and 2 medical isolation. On May 28, there were: 22 recoveries; 11 negative tests; 3 positive tests; 106 medical restriction; and 3 medical isolation. There were also 7 TDCJ employees who tested positive for COVID-19. By June 11, there were: 22 active cases; 25 recoveries; and 23 offenders in medical isolation. There were also 5 active cases among TDCJ employees and 4 recoveries.
  • Holliday Transfer (Huntsville) – On June 25, there were: 0 active cases; 247 recoveries; and 1 offender in medical isolation. There was also 1 active case among TDCJ employees and 14 recoveries. Beginning on April 16, there were: 0 pending; 2 negative tests; 0 positive tests; 0 medical restriction; and 0 medical isolation. There was also 1 TDCJ employee who tested positive for COVID-19. On May 28, there were: 22 recoveries; 478 negative tests; 82 positive tests; 552 medical restriction; and 481 medical isolation. There were also 7 TDCJ employees who tested positive for COVID-19. By June 11, there were: 213 active cases; 40 recoveries; and 216 offenders in medical isolation. There were also 5 active cases among TDCJ employees and10 recoveries.
  • Huntsville Unit – On June 25, there were: 6 active cases; 198 recoveries; and 7 offenders in medical isolation. There were also 5 active case among TDCJ employees and 5 recoveries. Beginning on April 16, there were: 0 pending; 4 negative tests; 0 positive tests; 2 medical restriction; and 0 medical isolation. On May 28, there were: 36 recoveries; 300 negative tests; 68 positive tests; 593 medical restriction; and 80 medical isolation. There were also 1 TDCJ employees who tested positive for COVID-19. By June 11, there were: 29 active cases; 182 recoveries; and 30 offenders in medical isolation. There were also 3 active cases among TDCJ employees and 3 recoveries.
  • Wynne Unit (Huntsville) – On June 25, there were: 3 active cases; 307 recoveries; and 3 offenders in medical isolation. There were also 4 active case among TDCJ employees and 68 recoveries. Beginning on April 16, there were: 1 pending; 4 negative tests; 38 positive tests; 1,830 medical restriction; and 39 medical isolation. There were also 14 TDCJ employee who tested positive for COVID-19. On May 28, there were: 68 recoveries; 1,523 negative tests; 197 positive tests; 1,573 medical restriction; and 197 medical isolation. There were also 37 TDCJ employees who tested positive for COVID-19. By June 11, there were: 23 active cases; 298 recoveries; and 32 offenders in medical isolation. There were also 13 active cases among TDCJ employees and 62 recoveries.

In Region II:

  • Beto Unit (Palestine area) – On June 25, there were: 1 active cases; 299 recoveries; and 1 offender in medical isolation. There were also 5 active case among TDCJ employees and 49 recoveries. Beginning on April 16, there were: 0 pending; 15 negative tests; 118 positive tests; 2,346 medical restriction; and 118 medical isolation. There was also 1 TDCJ employee who tested positive for COVID-19. On May 28, there were: 156 recoveries; 135 negative tests; 55 positive tests; 437 medical restriction; and 58 medical isolation. There were also 31 TDCJ employees who tested positive for COVID-19. By June 11, there were: 37 active cases; 267 recoveries; and 37 offenders in medical isolation. There were also 15 active cases among TDCJ employees and 41 recoveries.
  • Coffield Unit (Palestine area) – On June 25, there were: 5 active cases; 4 recoveries; and 7 offenders in medical isolation. There were also 3 active case among TDCJ employees and 3 recoveries. Beginning on April 16, there were: 0 pending; 2 negative tests; 0 positive tests; 2 medical restriction; and 0 medical isolation. On May 28, there were: 0 recoveries; 17 negative tests; 0 positive tests; 0 medical restriction; and 0 medical isolation. There was also 1 TDCJ employee who tested positive for COVID-19. By June 11, there were: 3 active cases; 0 recoveries; and 3 offenders in medical isolation. There were also 2 active cases among TDCJ employees and 2 recoveries.
  • Gurney Transfer (Palestine area) – On June 18, there were: 0 active cases; 140 recoveries; and 1 offender in medical isolation. There were also 2 active case among TDCJ employees and 6 recoveries. Beginning on April 16, there were: 0 pending; 1 negative tests; 1 positive tests; 81 medical restriction; and 1 medical isolation. On May 28, there were: 30 recoveries; 1,050 negative tests; 98 positive tests; 556 medical restriction; and 98 medical isolation. There were also 7 TDCJ employees who tested positive for COVID-19. By June 11, there were: 19 active cases; 131 recoveries; and 24 offenders in medical isolation. There were also 3 active cases among TDCJ employees and 4 recoveries.
  • Michael Unit (Palestine area) – On June 18, there were: 5 active cases; 425 recoveries; and 9 offenders in medical isolation. There were also 13 active case among TDCJ employees and 50 recoveries. Beginning on April 16, there were:  0 pending; 4 negative tests; 0 positive tests; 0 medical restriction; and 0 medical isolation. On May 28, there were: 52 recoveries; 1,615 negative tests; 287 positive tests; 1,145 medical restriction; and 293 medical isolation. There were also 35 TDCJ employees who tested positive for COVID-19. By June 11, there were: 225 active cases; 205 recoveries; and 233 offenders in medical isolation. There were also 25 active cases among TDCJ employees and 40 recoveries.
  • Powledge Unit (Palestine area) – On June 18, there were: 0 active cases; 2 recoveries; and 1 offender in medical isolation. There was also 1 active case among TDCJ employees and 1 recovery. Beginning on April 16, there were: 0 pending; 5 negative tests; 0 positive tests; 0 medical restriction; and 0 medical isolation. On May 28, there were: 0 recoveries; 3 negative tests; 0 positive tests; 0 medical restriction; and 0 medical isolation. By June11, there were: 0 active cases; 0 recoveries; and 0 offenders in medical isolation. There were also no active cases among TDCJ employees and 1 recovery.

Since TDCJ began tracking the pandemic, system wide, 113,456 tests have been administered to offenders. Of those tested, 7,653 offenders were positive for COVID-19. Of those who tested positive, 6,625 have recovered, 72 have presumably died because of the virus and there are 33 pending autopsies.

For TDCJ employees, 34,243 tests have been administered to offenders. Of those tested, 1,293 employees were positive for COVID-19. Of those who tested positive, 908 have recovered and 8 have presumably died because of the virus. 

Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at wjohnson@messenger-news.com.   

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