2020: TDCJ

A sign of support welcomes Texas Department of Criminal Justice employees at the Darrington Unit in Rosharon.

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice and Brazoria County continue to disagree regarding the accuracy and reporting of COVID-19 cases in prisons.

The county has received no information on recovered cases due to a “lack of communication,” Brazoria County Judge Matt Sebesta says.

Since the pandemic began, the county has reported 255 inmates at Scott, Darrington, Terrell, Clemens, Ramsey and Stringfellow units had tested positive for COVID-19, according to county data.

Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman Jeremy Desel doesn’t know where the county was receiving its information, he said.

“I’m not convinced those are accurate numbers,” Desel said. “Those don’t come close to ours. It’s curious on where those came from.”

TDCJ’s website shows seven positive tests at Darrington, 55 at Scott, 23 at Terrell, eight at Clemens and 10 at Stringfellow for a total of 103.

It also indicates there are two recovered inmates at Ramsey, four at Clemens, 16 at Darrington, 30 at Stringfellow, 16 at Scott and 47 at Terrell for a total of 115.

That would total 218 inmates to have tested positive in Brazoria County, a difference of 41 from the county’s numbers. Five inmates have died — three from Terrell, one from Stringfellow and one from Scott.

The prison system’s recovery numbers are likely inaccurate due to how the agency handles tallying the positive cases, Desel said.

“If they were transferred and tested to Hospital Galveston, it will come as positive for Hospital Galveston,” Desel said. “Terrell’s 47 recovered could actually be 147.”

The department receives its information from its private health director, who sends the results through the state, Desel said.

The county receives its data from the county health department and through the state, Sebesta said.

“By law, once one of our inmates is confirmed, our local health authorities are alerted,” Sebesta said.

58th Windsong resident tests positive for virus

As the Windsong Care Center enters its second round of widespread testing, Brazoria County Judge Matt Sebesta remains “hopeful” no new cases pop up.

“They are in their second round of testing and I hope to God there are not anymore,” Sebesta said.

A Windsong resident was the Pearland facility’s 58th resident to test positive for COVID-19, Brazoria County announced Thursday afternoon.

Seven Pearland residents were among 11 people announced as positive Thursday.

Pearland residents included a man in his 40s, a girl younger than 10, three women in their 40s, one in her 30s and one older than 80, according to county data.

An Iowa Colony boy younger than 10, a Freeport woman in her 60s and two Manvel women in their 20s and 40s also were announced as positive Thursday.

Prisons in Brazoria County were free of new cases for the second consecutive day, according to county data.

One person was announced as recovered.

The county is now at 816 total reported cases with 388 active and 408 to have recovered. Nine people were listed as probable and 11 have died from complications.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death. The vast majority of people recover.

Driver license offices to BEGIN reopening

Texas Driver Licenses Offices will begin a four-phase plan for reopening starting Tuesday, according to a news release by Gov. Greg Abbott.

Phase one will open offices in the northwest and west regions of the state beginning Tuesday. Phase two opens offices in the south and central Texas regions May 29 and phase three reopens offices June 1 in north and southeast Texas.

Phase four will begin “midsummer” and open all locations throughout the state, the release said.

Residents must file for an appointment to receive services, the news release said. Appointments can be submitted beginning 1 p.m. today for phase one locations.

Appointments for the following phases can be scheduled at 1 p.m. the day the previous phase begins.

Nick Irene is a reporter for The Facts. Contact him at 979-237-0149.

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