Angelina County Jail suspends visitation due to COVID-19 outbreak
LUFKIN, Texas (KTRE) - Inmate visitation at the Angelina County Jail to visit an inmate is no longer an option for the foreseeable future due to a high volume of COVID-19 cases in the facility. Assistant Warden Nick Gardner says the staff is keeping a close eye on the situation.
“It is changing everyday, and not always for the worst,” said Gardner. “Some of the people that were positive are now becoming negative so it changes everyday. It’s something we really have to keep an eye on not really day by day, but more almost hour by hour.”
The jail declined to give an exact number of current positive cases, but did say that they expect the numbers will fluctuate as cases clear and with negative tests. The virus has affected inmates and officers alike, with precautions like quarantine cells being put into use, alongside automated thermometer testing upon entry for all individuals.
“Right now we do have multiple cells that are in quarantine and we have tests here and our medical vendor is testing the inmates to see how long those cells need to be in quarantine,” said Gardner. “Obviously the sooner we take them off quarantine the better so that we can open these services back up again.”
The decision was made official on Friday after the jail contacted the health department, who was onboard with the plan to shut down visitation to mitigate the outbreak. They have also canceled any outside services such as volunteer work. In addition to quarantine cells, Gardner says masks are being provided to staff and inmates, and inmates have been given access to cleaning supplies to sanitize their living spaces. Despite their best efforts to fully put an end to the outbreak, Gardner says there is still a level of control that is unattainable.
“What we would like to see is the spread of it to stop and we would like to see it actually out of the jail. Unfortunately, if you don’t test everybody that walks through the door, you never know what you’re going to get.”
Copyright 2022 KTRE. All rights reserved.