Number of Texas Jail Inmates With COVID-19 More Than Tripled Over Past 9 Days

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Bexar County isn't the only county lockup with a coronavirus problem.

State records show that the number of Texas jail inmates diagnosed with COVID-19 has increased by 216% over the past nine days. The alarming trend was first reported by the criminal justice blog Grits for Breakfast.

As of Tuesday, 569 county jail inmates and 228 staff have tested positive for the disease caused by the coronavirus, according to Texas Commission on Jail Standards data. That's up from 180 inmates and 153 jailers on April 19.

An additional 55 inmates and 417 jailers were in isolation waiting for results on Tuesday, according to the records. What's more, 5,219 other inmates — or around one in every 10 in Texas jails — have been quarantined or put into isolation but aren't yet being tested.

Nearly half the reported inmates diagnosed with COVID-19 were in Harris County, according to Grits' reporting. However, it notes that Dallas and Tarrant County have also seen recent spikes.

As of Tuesday, 64 inmates and 36 deputies in the Bexar County Jail have tested positive, according to a Texas Public Radio report.

In an interview Tuesday with the Current, Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said the jail has tested roughly 300 out of 1,000 guards, but it's limited by the availability of both staffing and test kits.

"We've got the Fire Department helping out, but the most we can test is 150 a day," he said.

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