Report: More than half of TDCJ units have active COVID-19 cases

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice is reporting that 54 percent of its units have active COVID-19 cases.

TDCJ posts information daily on active cases in both offenders and employees, recoveries, and the number of inmates placed in medical isolation and restriction. On Monday, the department’s website showed that 57 out of 106 total units had active COVID-19 cases.

Locally, the Willacy Unit in Raymondville has recorded zero cases among offenders and employees, according to TDCJ. The Segovia Unit, just north of Edinburg in Hidalgo County, reported three recovered offenders and two recovered employees with no active cases.

Last month, TDCJ posted an update on its website indicating that Danilo Garza, 65, who served 31 years of a life sentence out of Cameron County, had died on May 4 at Hospital Galveston.

The department has documented 39 presumed COVID-related deaths statewide with an additional 28 offender deaths “pending cause”. 1,493 inmates have recovered. TDCJ has documented 5,917 total positive cases and had 4,173 active cases as of May 30.

There are currently 41 units on precautionary lockdown. Reports state that 4,264 offenders have been moved to medical isolation — the more severe of two isolation methods —while 22,351 inmates have been placed in medial restriction, according to TDCJ’s numbers.

Employees have also tested positive — with 498 active cases among TDCJ employees, the department has completed 19,169 tests. Seven employees have died from what the department suspects are COVID-19 related complications.

In total, TDCJ has completed 57,867 tests for COVID-19, including mass testing that began on May 12.

esheridan@brownsvilleherald.com