GALVESTON

A second Galveston County Jail inmate has tested positive for the coronavirus, the first in the general jail population to test positive, Sheriff Henry Trochesset said.

The inmate first tested positive about a week ago, but jail officials learned Tuesday afternoon a new test officially cleared the inmate, Trochesset said.

Deputies picked up the inmate from the Texas Department of Corrections on a bench warrant, and that person spent several weeks in a quarantine section of the jail before testing positive for the virus after reaching the general population, Trochesset said.

The sheriff’s office, taking precautions to reduce the risk of transmissions, quarantines new inmates in isolated cells for up to two weeks and takes temperatures of arrestees and jail staff, Trochesset said.

This inmate made it through quarantine without displaying symptoms, Trochesset said.

Other inmates who had been in contact with that person were then tested but were found negative for the virus, Trochesset said.

“We went through all the medical guidelines,” he said.

In addition to the two inmates who have tested positive for the coronavirus, about seven deputies are out with the virus, Trochesset said.

The first inmate to test positive, a woman, was a recent arrival at the jail and was housed in an isolation cell with a special air system that doesn’t mix with the rest of the jail, Trochesset said.

The inmate was sent to the hospital after about four days in jail for an unrelated health issue, Trochesset said. While at the hospital, she was diagnosed with COVID-19.

The inmate had been asymptomatic, and Trochesset signed off on her release from the jail, he said. She has not been back since the diagnosis.

There have been large outbreaks of COVID-19 within the Texas jail and prison system. As of Thursday, 7,653 state prison inmates and 1,293 employees of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice had tested positive for COVID-19, according to the agency. That figure doesn’t include people in custody at county jails.

Matt deGrood: 409-683-5230; matt.degrood@galvnews.com

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