As of late Thursday morning, May 14, Cooke County Sheriff Terry Gilbert said he has not had any coronavirus cases at the Cooke County Jail.
“We’ve been lucky so far,” he said. “We screen every arrestee before they go into the jail.”
He said as long as a prisoner doesn’t raise any flags during the screening process, which includes taking their temperature, they are booked into jail.
No inmates have required testing for the coronavirus, he said.
“I think last week we turned two away that were living with a quarantined person,” Gilbert said.
He said the two were facing misdemeanor criminal trespass charges. He said the arresting agency filed the cases at-large since they were turned away from the facility at 300 County Road 451.
“We didn’t take the risk,” Gilbert said.
Current inmates are periodically screened for the virus, as well, according to Gilbert.
“So far we’ve not had any reason to think it’s been brought in,” he said of the jail population catching the coronavirus. “But we’re still doing temperature checks.”
As of Wednesday, May 13, there were 129 people in the county’s jail, according to Gilbert.
While safety and cleanliness at the jail are standard procedure, Gilbert said there have been some additional measures put in place since the coronavirus pandemic.
“Everybody has their temperature taken once they come on duty,” he said, stating the process will continue “indefinitely.”
Others who enter the facility are also screened, such as delivery personnel, he said.
If anyone — jail staff, deputies or administrative personnel — has a temperature of 100.4 degrees or greater, they will be told to seek help from their primary physician, Gilbert said. So far, no one has been turned away from work because of a fever, he said.
Intake and book-in are disinfected every time a person comes through instead of just daily now, Gilbert said.
The Texas Commission on Jail Standards suspended all visitation for facilities it oversees across the state after Gov. Greg Abbott declared a statewide public health disaster over the coronavirus on March 13.
As of press time, no in-person visitation was allowed at the county jail.
For now, inmates can have phone calls or write letters if they want to communicate with anyone, Gilbert said.
COVID-19, which stands for coronavirus disease 2019, is caused by a virus named SARS-CoV-2. It first appeared in late 2019 in Wuhan, China.
Follow the Gainesville Daily Register online for updates as the situation surrounding the coronavirus is developing.