Local county jail correctional officer contracts COVID-19

A Bell County Jail correctional officer has been diagnosed with the new coronavirus, the sheriff’s department said in a press release Wednesday morning. (File)

BELTON, Texas (KWTX) A Bell County Jail correctional officer has been diagnosed with the new coronavirus, the sheriff’s department said Wednesday morning.

"The officer contracted the virus through community spread, and at this time, there are no other COVID-19 cases within the Bell County Sheriff’s Department,” the department said in a press release.

Officials learned of the positive test at around 8:30 a.m.Tuesday, Sheriff Eddy Lange said during a news conference Wednesday afternoon.

The employee worked in several positions over the past two weeks and helped serve meals to inmates, Lange said.

The county is asking a state task force to test all inmates and staff members, a total of about 1,100 people, he said.

Lange said he's confident the virus has not spread in the facility.

"It is mandatory that any time they have dealings with the public or our inmates all of our employees have to wear masks and gloves," he said.

Bell County Wednesday was reporting 263 confirmed cases of the virus with at least 150 recoveries.

Three residents diagnosed with the virus have died.

A total of 250 tests were administered at New Beginnings Learning Academy at 969 Marlandwood Rd. in Temple, which officials asked to close temporarily after a person associated with the facility tested positive for the new coronavirus, health officials said.

Two came back positive, officials said.

Seven nursing home employees and residents have tested positive for the virus in Temple as well, officials said.