The Liberty County Jail has seen a recent surge in the number of COVID-19 cases among inmates and staff with 18 of the approximately 258 inmates and five staff members testing positive.
According to Liberty County Sheriff Bobby Rader, who oversees the jail operation, the inmates who have tested positive are being quarantined from the remaining jail population and no visitors are being allowed, with the exception of attorneys.
“We are taking safety measures to prevent the spread of the virus. Until we can get a better read on what’s happening, we will remain closed to visitors,” he said.
Guards and other staff are taking the normal precautions, such as wearing masks and gloves, and attorneys can only meet prisoners through glass windows or by phone.
“We are taking it day by day. We don’t have any serious medical issues yet with prisoners. None have required hospitalizations. They are experiencing headaches, coughing and a running nose,” he said.
One member of staff had to be hospitalized but is expected to recover, the sheriff added.
“Everyone I know who has COVID did not get the vaccine,” Rader said.
The COVID-19 cases also mean that the jail cannot transfer inmates to state and federal jails to begin their sentences or to ease overcrowding.
“TDCJ won’t take them right now. We are basically in a holding pattern for now,” he said.