PALESTINE, Texas (KLTV) - As of Thursday evening, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s Beto Unit in Palestine had 128 inmates who tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. Fifteen employees and contract staff at the unit have also tested positive for the coronavirus.
System-wide, TDCJ was reporting 693 positive COVID tests among its inmates as of 5 p.m. on Thursday. A total of seven inmates have died as a result of complications from the coronavirus, according to the TDCJ website.
The Beto Unit still has 14 pending tests, and 36 inmates have had negative COVID-19 tests.
As of Wednesday, the Beto Unit also had 2,557 inmates on medical restriction, which is used to separate and restrict the movements of asymptomatic inmates who make have been exposed to a communicable disease like COVID-19 to see if they start to show symptoms.
At the Beto Unit, 142 inmates have been placed in medical isolation on campus or at a hospital. Medical isolation restricts the movements of sick inmates to help stop the spread of disease.
According to the TDCJ website, a total of 17,295 inmates have been placed on medical restriction, and 754 have been placed in medical isolation.
The total number of inmates who have tested positive for COVID-19 at the other TDCJ units in East Texas include:
- Coffield Unit (Palestine area) - 0
- Eastham Unit (Lovelady) - 6
- Lewis Unit (Woodville) - 0
- Michael Unit (Palestine area) - 7
- Polunsky Unit (Livingston) - 0
- Powledge Unit (Palestine) - 0
- Skyview (Rusk) - 0
- Telford (New Boston) - 34
For a more detailed breakdown of the numbers at the other East Texas units, click this link.
“As of April 8, 2020, any facility with a confirmed positive offender or employee COVID-19 test will be placed on a precautionary lockdown for at least 14 days from the date of the positive test,” the TDCJ website stated. “This additional proactive step is in addition to existing medical restriction and medical isolation measures already in place.”
The East Texas units that are on lockdown at this time include Beto, Eastham, Michael, Skyview, and Telford.
According to a previous report, all of the COVID-19 testing for the Beto Unit is provided by the University of Texas Medical Branch, and the results are provided within 12 to 36 hours.
Any medical or correctional staff in contact with inmates in isolation are wearing full Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Contact investigations are performed on anyone being tested.
Related stories: TDCJ updates Beto Unit 106 COVID-19 cases, 54 tests pending