Cherokee County Jail on lockdown due to flu

Cherokee County Jail on lockdown due to flu
Cherokee County Jail on lockdown because of flu (Source: KLTV)

CHEROKEE COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - Cherokee County Jail has been on lockdown to visitors for six days because of the flu virus.

Last Friday, the jail's doctor told Sheriff James Campbell it needed to be locked down because two inmates tested positive for the virus.

"Right after we locked it down, the third case was confirmed and we had two more cases for a total of five," Campbell said. "We took those people and put them in [...] the med cells and we offered Tamiflu to all the other inmates that were in the big pods with them."

Campbell said five cases may not seem like a lot but with approximately 120 inmates, the virus could spread quickly.

"It's the first time it's ever happened; I've been here twenty-four years [and] this is the first time we've ever had this happen, but I think it's an exceptionally bad flu season," he said.

While the jail is on lockdown, inmates are not allowed any visitors and cannot go out in the recreation yard.

"It also meant that we were not taking any to court; now, if there was a real important court case, certainly we would," he said. "We were supposed to take twenty people [to court] two days ago and they said it was strictly up to us if we brought them, and we chose not to take them over there."

Campbell said the virus is also affecting jail employees.

"I've had four, five, or six employees this season with the flu, but so far I think we have two out at this time," he said. "But it does put an extra burden on the staff, and the inmates don't like to get cramped up and not be able to go to the recreation yard or visitation, but we're doing it for them and for our staff as well, and it seems to be working."

The sheriff is requiring everyone that goes into the jail wear masks and rubber gloves as a precaution.

The jail's doctor will re-evaluate the condition at the jail tomorrow and either maintain or release the facility depending on the health of the inmates.

Smith, Gregg, Angelina, and Nacogdoches County jails are all allowing visitations at this time.

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