Johnson County Sheriff Adam King in recent weeks several times counted his blessings in regards to COVID-19 infection and added that the Johnson County Jail, unlike several other Texas jails and prisons, was fortunate to have had no cases within the jail.
That changed Saturday after a recently transferred ICE detainee tested positive. The detainee came to the Johnson County Jail about three days ago from the Rolling Plains facility in Haskell, King said. The Johnson County Jail houses overflow detainees from other facilities.
“They move the ICE people around quite a bit,” King said. “A lot of times it's because they have a hearing coming up near here so they'll send them here to be closer to Dallas. Sometimes it's because they're about to be flown out of [Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport] and they'll send them here a few days before.”
ICE detainees are housed in a separate facility from the jail's general population. Temperatures are checked for all coming into the jail and they're asked if they've had any COVID-19-related symptoms, King said.
“He had had a fever and it developed from there pretty quickly,” King said.
King, for privacy purposes, said he could not release the detainee's identity. The detainee has been placed under medical isolation in a negative air pressure cell and will remain quarantined for 14 days.
“He's separated from the rest of the population in a room that doesn't vent out into the facility,” King said.
Staff spent Saturday and Sunday disinfecting the facility in effort to curtail further spread, King said.
"We had a flu outbreak last winter and they managed to keep that contained,” King said. “We're hoping that will be the case with this and we don't see anymore outbreaks.”