Harris County Jail confirms first COVID-19 death in inmate

A Harris County Jail inmate who tested positive for coronavirus COVID-19 has died, according to officials.

Doctors at an area hospital confirmed the death of a man in his 50s, who also had serious underlying health issues on Wednesday morning.

The man had been at the hospital for several weeks.

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He was originally booked into the Harris County Jail several months ago on a felony charge.

He is the first Harris County Jail inmate diagnosed with coronavirus to die.

An aggressive testing program that has now reached 1,115 inmates – including those who do not have symptoms of COVID-19 but are believed to have been exposed to the virus – has now helped medical staff identify 601 inmates with coronavirus.

Of the 601 inmates who have tested positive since the coronavirus outbreak, 249 are now in recovery, and 92 others are asymptomatic.

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Fourteen inmates are currently hospitalized. 

The number of inmates who have tested negative for coronavirus now stands at 478. Forty-six inmates are awaiting test results.

The number of Harris County Sheriff’s Office employees diagnosed with coronavirus now stands at 256, including 229 who work in the jail.

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There are currently 402 Harris County Sheriff’s Office deputies, detention officers and support staff on quarantine for possible COVID-19 exposure.

As of Wednesday, 340 previously quarantined employees have returned to duty, including 96 who had tested positive for the virus.

Twelve Sheriff’s Office employees are currently hospitalized because of the virus.

The Sheriff’s Office is working with Harris County Public Health to identify co-workers, inmates, and members of the public who may have had close contact with the diagnosed employees so they can take necessary precautions, including quarantine and testing for those with symptoms.