Second East Texas inmate dies from coronavirus; 13 more employees test positive

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NEW BOSTON, Texas (KTAL) – A second inmate at the Telford Unit in New Boston has died due to COVID-19.

According to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Johnny Davis, 60, died on Tuesday at a hospital in Galveston, Texas.

He first tested positive last Thursday and was transferred from a Texarkana hospital to Hospital Galveston.

The TDCJ also reports that Davis’ family declined to have an autopsy performed, however, COVID-19 is believed to have caused his death.

Davis was serving a 10 year sentence for obstruction/retaliation out of Hunt County. He began his sentence in October 2016.

48 inmates and 13 employees at the Telford Unit have tested positive for COVID-19.

PREVIOUS CASE

The first prisoner to die from coronavirus was Bartolo Infante, 72, on April 7.

Shortly after announcing the death, the prison system said it was locking down 15 prisons where there have been positive cases.

He tested positive for the virus Friday, April 3, after being hospitalized for viral pneumonia. He died Tuesday, April 7. Infante was in medical isolation when he died and had preexisting medical conditions.

Infante’s death comes a day after the department reported the first death of an employee.

Kelvin Wilcher, 49, was a correctional officer at the Estelle Unit in Huntsville.

Wilcher went to a Houston hospital April 1 and had a cardiac event, TDCJ said. He later tested positive for the virus. The prison system said it was under investigation whether his death was caused by COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus.

BETO UNIT ISSUES

With over 200 COVID-19 tests pending for prison staff in Texas, 21 more people have tested positive since Wednesday, according to the TDCJ website. However, there are still 259 tests awaiting results.

TDCJ has broken down the employee test results by unit, which only includes one positive case for the Beto Unit in Anderson County.

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