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Bexar County inmate, dispatcher test positive for COVID -19

SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) An inmate at the Bexar  County Jail and a Bexar County Sheriff’s Office Public  Safety Communications Dispatcher  have tested positive for COVID-19.

A spokeswoman for BCSO says the dispatcher was placed on leave March 31. The two cases are unrelated.

The inmate reported shortness of breath Thursday, and upon further medical evaluation , it was determined that the individual had a fever over 100°. The inmate was tested and placed in a negative pressure cell pending lab results. The individual had been in custody since March 11 for a misdemeanor family violence charge.

“At this time it is undetermined how the inmate contracted the illness, however, as a result of the inmate testing positive for COVID-19, two living units at the Adult Detention Center have been placed on lockdown while inmates undergo medical observation. Currently, the inmates housed in these units are not displaying any COVID-19 related symptoms; however, we are requesting COVID-19 tests for all inmates housed in these units, “said a BCSO spokeswoman.

It is not clear when the inmate tested positive, or if he was showing symptoms beforehand.  This is the first inmate to test positive for COVID-19 at the Bexar County Jail.

To further prevent the spread of COVID-19, the entire inmate population of around 3,000 inmates at the Bexar County Jail will be wearing surgical masks at all times.  Additionally, all areas the inmate had contact with have been fully sanitized and disinfected, which includes the living units the inmate had access to.  Those housed in the affected living units have been provided surgical masks and will routinely have their temperature checked by facility medical personnel.

The deputies who worked in the living units where the inmate was housed are believed to be at low-risk of contracting COVID-19 due to the limited interaction the deputies had with this person. Out of “an abundance of caution,” those  deputies will be placed on leave while they self-monitor for symptoms.

The dispatcher who tested positive has been self-monitoring at home since March 31 after a family member became ill. It is believed that the dispatcher who contracted the case was as a result of close-contact transmission. Health officials have informed us that employees who worked with this dispatcher are at low-risk of contracting COVID-19.

A total of 5 employees have tested positive for COVID-19 –three Detention Deputies, one Video Visitation civilian employee, and one Public Safety Communications Dispatcher.

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