Harris Co. reports 1st inmate to test positive for COVID-19

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A Harris County Jail inmate has tested positive for COVID-19, making him the first inmate in the jail to contract the virus, according to the sheriff's office.

Officials said the 39-year-old man received a positive test result on Sunday. The inmate was booked into the jail on Tuesday, March 17, after being arrested by the Houston Police Department for a parole violation.

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The inmate was placed in quarantine on Thursday, March 26, after medical staff at the jail conducted a standard health assessment and detected a high temperature and a high pulse rate.

The sheriff's office said the man is stable in the Baker Street jail medical unit.

"The Harris County Sheriff's Office medical staff and detention staff are taking every possible precaution to manage the spread of COVID-19 among our nearly 8,000 inmates," said Sheriff Ed Gonzalez. "Despite their heroic efforts, we know this insidious virus is nearly impossible to contain in a jail environment. I am in awe of the efforts of our team, and I remain especially concerned for the safety of those who show up for their shifts each day, knowing the risk to themselves and their families."

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The sheriff's office said there are currently about 30 inmates in the Harris County Jail with symptoms consistent with COVID-19.

About 500 inmates, who were potentially exposed to the virus but who do not have symptoms, are in quarantine for observation. So far, according to HCSO, five inmate tests have come back negative for the virus.

Map of COVID-19 cases across the US, updated as confirmed by CDC
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