A 37-year-old man from Harris County is being treated for COVID-19 at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice hospital in Galveston, officials said Tuesday.

The man is the first person in the state prison system’s custody to be diagnosed with COVID-19.

“TDCJ is saddened to learn of this positive case in an offender, but the agency is well prepared to handle this challenge,” said Bryan Collier, the executive director of the criminal justice department. “Our coronavirus protocol was developed exactly for a situation like this.”

The man has been receiving treatment at a prison system hospital at the University of Texas Medical Branch campus in Galveston for three days, according to the department. He has been in the department’s custody since Feb. 27 after he was convicted of two drug possession charges, the agency said.

The man began to complain about shortness of breath and a cough March 21 while in custody at the Lychner State Jail in Humble, the department said. He was taken from there to Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston and then taken to the Galveston hospital.

The man was not held in any Galveston County Jail facilities. The Galveston prison hospital is separate from other facilities on the medical branch campus. The hospital is used only to treat prisoners in state custody, not prisoners from the Galveston County Jail

The man is in medical isolation and in good condition, the department said.

John Wayne Ferguson: 409-683-5226; or on Twitter @johnwferguson.


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