Johnson County Sheriff Adam King confirmed that one deputy assigned to the Guinn Justice Center has tested positive for COVID-19. The deputy, whose name has not been released, remains quarantined.
Other deputies working at Guinn have been tested and are awaiting results. King stressed that arrangements have been made to ensure deputies are on site to guard the courthouse.
Guinn officials said the infected deputy came into contact with another person who had also tested positive but added that the contact did not occur at the Guinn. The deputy at that time stayed home from work out of precaution and subsequently contracted the virus.
The deputies at the Guinn, King said, work various sections of the building. Though they come into proximity with one another at times they are usually not in close contact for extended periods of time.
The remaining deputies who have been tested have so far exhibited no signs of COVID-19, King said.
King and officials at the Guinn added the deputies, as well as other employees, have been careful to practice social distancing and other safety precautions. The Guinn, although still open, has for all intents and purposes been closed to the public for the past two months. Jury trials, public hearings, grand juries and other court functions remain suspended for now.
With exception of emergency hearings where no other alternative exists, the few hearings held over the past few weeks have been conducted via Zoom or other means. Even in the case of emergency hearings social distance guidelines and limits on the number of people allowed in any one room at any one time have been enforced, officials said.
Guinn officials said that testing opportunities, through the city of Cleburne’s testing site, has been made available to any courthouse employees requesting it.
Four deputies have so far tested positive for COVID-19, King said, two patrol deputies, one in investigation and one at Guinn. Of the first three, two have since been cleared and the third should be cleared soon.
So far only one among the Johnson County Jail population has tested positive.
An ICE detainee transferred from the Rolling Plains facility in Haskell tested positive on May 16. That detainee remains quarantined in a negative air pressure cell.
“He’s doing pretty good other than he’s ready to get out of that isolation cell,” King said. “So far though we’ve had no indications of any spread to anyone else in the jail.”
ICE detainees are kept in a separate facility from the jail’s general population holding buildings. Throughout the pandemic disinfecting and other sanitation measures have been stepped up in the jail and other measures have been taken, such as installation of special air filters, to curtail spread of the virus.