At least 12 additional Smith County low-risk inmates, 1 employee test positive for coronavirus; all asymptomatic

Local News

TYLER, Texas (KETK) – At least 12 low-risk inmates and one jail employee tested positive for the coronavirus, according to Sheriff Larry Smith.

He told the Smith County commissioners that 12 or 13 inmates tested positive after mass testing was done on all inmates and staffers in the county last week. One employee at the low-risk facility also tested positive.

Smith told the commissioners that all of the people who tested positive were all asymptomatic. The results of the mass testing for the central jail in downtown Tyler have still yet to return.

Last week, it was revealed that a Smith County inmate had died from the coronavirus, the first in the county and just the second in the state.

The Texas Commission on Jail Standards reported Tuesday morning that as of this writing seven inmates currently have an active case of COVID-19. 174 have been quarantined due to close contact with the dozens of others that were positive at one point.

There are also 772 inmates that have been tested, but the results have yet to come back. 19 staffers in the jail also have an active case and one other has been quarantined due to their results have yet to come back.

Earlier at the same hearing, Smith County Judge Nathaniel Moran announced the creation of a coronavirus relief money task force that would be charged with creating a plan on how to efficiently spend more than $5 million in federal aid.

Moran said that once the money becomes available he wants to have a plan readily available on how to spend the funds. The task force will comprise of:

  • Fire Marshal Jay Brooks
  • Chief Deputy Jimmy Jackson
  • Purchasing Agent Christina Haney
  • Auditor Heather Foster

Moran said last week that the county has been keeping a detailed list of county expenses. It is unclear, according to Moran, at this time whether the state or the federal government would receive the money back if left unused.

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