FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 28, 2020

Travis County Jail Inmate Tests Positive for COVID-19

Medical professionals at the Travis County Jail received a positive COVID-19 test result for an inmate this morning. The inmate has been in custody 3 days, all of those days in the quarantine unit. The inmate was put in quarantine upon intake based on answers given to CDC guideline questions. The inmate has been moved to the Quarantine – Confirmed Positive unit.

All inmates in quarantine (whether it be the quarantined with symptoms or quarantined - confirmed positive) are housed in single-occupancy cells that utilize an energy recovery exhaust system. Each cell independently exhausts air out. The HVAC is not a recycled air flow system. Travis County Jail is therefore, remarkably well suited for this emergency quarantine.

Contact tracing is underway and anyone determined to have been in close proximity to this inmate will be promptly notified. They will also be advised of medical resources available to them.

TCSO will continue to rely on the medical guidance and expertise of healthcare providers to ascertain when inmates in the care and custody of the Travis County Jail should be tested for COVID-19 or any other infectious disease. These providers base their decisions on clinical assessments, inmate evaluation and guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO) and Austin Public Health (APH). These organizations, recognized as the highest worldwide and local authorities on infectious disease control, establish and advise on the criteria to be used for testing. At this time, these authorities do not recommend universal testing or testing of asymptomatic individuals presenting without a fever and at least one other COVID-19 related symptom.

Quarantine houses inmates who are experiencing virus-like illness symptoms. About 1/3 of them have no symptoms and are in quarantine because they either refused to answer CDC guideline questions or answered yes to all CDC guideline questions on intake. They’re housed in quarantine until cleared by our medical staff. Quarantine is on a separate floor from all other inmates. Each inmate is in a single-occupancy cell and is seen twice a day by medical professionals.

Quarantine – Confirmed Positive houses only those inmates who have tested positive for the virus. The inmates are housed in single-occupancy cells and are seen twice daily by medical professionals.
Isolation: ALL newly booked, (healthy) inmates are held in single-occupancy cells for the first 10-14 days as another layer of protection to keep COVID-19 from entering our general population. If an inmate doesn’t show symptoms within that 10-14 day time period, our medical staff is more confident that it’s safe to introduce that person into the general population. We implemented this process on March 30th with approval from Texas Commission on Jail Standards.
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Submitted By: Kristen Dark, Sr. Public Information Officer (512) 854-4986

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