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Texas prison COVID-19 death toll continues to rise

(KOSA)
Published: May. 11, 2020 at 6:20 PM CDT
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Another Texas prison inmate diagnosed with COVID-19 has died.

Daniel Thompson, 71, who was serving a 50-year sentence out of Harris County at the Pack Unit, died on May 5 at Hospital Galveston to which he was admitted on April 30.

To date seven prison system employees and 31 offenders diagnosed with the virus have died and another 24 inmate deaths are under investigation, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice says.

With more than 2,400 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the deaths of seven employees and 31 offenders diagnosed with the virus and the medical restriction of more than 19,000 inmates, the TDCJ is deploying tens of thousands of FDA-approved, self-administered coronavirus tests at units across the state

Twelve strike teams were trained and testing started on Tuesday.

In the first few hours Tuesday, 1,500 tests were administered and collected, the agency said.

“These tests are readily available and deployable,” TDCJ Executive Director Bryan Collier said.

“Increasing the information available to our medical professionals will help us to further enhance the agency’s ability of stop the spread of COVID-19.”

The agency expects the accelerated testing will identify inmates with asymptomatic cases of the virus, whom the agency has a plan to restrict.

To date, 677 prison system employees or contractors and 1,775 inmates have tested positive for the virus.

Almost 40 prison units including four in Central Texas are locked down because of the virus.

One inmate has tested positive for the virus at the William R. Boyd Unit in Teague where one inmate is medically isolated and 81 are on medical restriction; three employees of the Christina Melton Crain Unit in Gatesville have tested positive; four employees and one inmate have tested positive at the Alfred D. Hughes Unit where 46 inmates are on medical restriction and one is isolated; 68 inmates and 20 employees have tested positive at the Dr. Lane Murray Unit where 74 inmates are isolated and 367 are medically restricted; and 16 inmates and nine employees have tested positive at the Linda Woodman State Jail where 16 inmates are isolated and 117 are medically restricted.

Seven agency employees diagnosed with the virus have died.

Maria Mendez, 59, a correction officer at the Wynne Unit, died on May 9 after she was hospitalized on April 12.

She served the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for nearly 11 years.

Jesse Bolton, 62, a correctional officer at the Eastham Unit, died on May 8 after falling ill on May 6.

He was a 12-year TDCJ veteran.

An initial test for COVID-19 was negative, but a subsequent test produced a positive result.

His death remains under investigation.

TDCJ employee James Coleman, 53, who tested positive for COVID-19 after falling ill at home on Monday, died Wednesday afternoon at an Abilene hospital.

Coleman, a 20-year TDCJ veteran last worked Sunday at the Middleton Unit in Abilene.

Coy D. Coffman, Jr., 65, a corrections officer at the Teford Unit in New Boston, who was diagnosed with COVID-19 on April 19, died Sunday evening.

Coffman was a nine-year TDCJ veteran.

Longtime Texas Department of Criminal Justice employee Akbar Shabazz, died on April 23 after a nearly three-week battle with the new coronavirus.

Shabazz, 70, who was the TDCJ’s regional area Muslim chaplain, fell ill on April 3.

He died early on April 23 at Methodist Hospital in the Woodlands.

He started work as a volunteer and became an employee of the agency in September 1977.

Correctional Officer Jonathon Keith Goodman, 52, an 11-year Texas Department of Criminal Justice veteran, died Tuesday afternoon at a hospital in Amarillo after he was removed from life support following a stroke on April 17.

He tested positive for COVID-19 on April 11 and the virus apparently contributed to his death, prison officials said.

Kelvin Wilcher, 49, a correctional officer at the Estelle Unit in Huntsville, died on April 6 after testing positive for the virus.

Thirty other inmates diagnosed with the virus have also died.

James Powers, 77, who was serving a 20-year sentence out of Taylor County at the Ellis Unit in Huntsville, died on May 10 at Hospital Galveston after he was hospitalized on May 5.

Alfredo De La Vega, 54, who was serving a 20-year sentence out of Bexar County at the Montford Unit in Lubbock, died on May 5 at a Lubbock hospital to which he was admitted on April 27.

Bennie Skinner, 79, who was serving a life sentence out of Parker County at the Telford Unit in New Boston, died on April 29 at Wadley Hospital to which he was admitted on April 21.

Marion Sayles, 62, who was serving a life sentence out of Dallas County at the Telford Unit in New Boston, died May 6 after two weeks in ICU at Hospital Galveston.

Ramchand Jagaroo, 66, who was serving a life sentence out of Harris County, died May 3, 2020 at Northwest Texas Hospital to which he was taken on April 16 after developing symptoms.

Miguel Arciba, 62, who was serving a life sentence out of Ellis County at the Telford Unit in New Boston, died on May 3 after more than a week in intensive care at Hospital Galveston to which he was taken after developing symptoms on April 13.

Gerald Barragan, 62, who was serving a five-year sentence out of Kendall County, died on May 5 at Hospital Galveston to which he was taken on April 26.

Danilo Garza, 65, who was serving a life sentence at the Eastham Unit out of Cameron County, died on Monday at Hospital Galveston to which he was admitted on April 28.

Nicholas Paredez, 82, who was serving a 25-year sentence at the Estelle Unit, died on April 25, at Hospital Galveston to which he was taken on April 23.

Tommy Rodriguez, 62, died on May 2 after he was admitted to Hospital Galveston on April 13.

Michael Milligan, 64, who was serving a 30-year sentence at the Terrell Unit in Rosharon, out of Tarrant County, died April 26 at Hospital Galveston to which he was taken on April 19.

Paul Brown, 55, who was serving a 50-year sentence at the Wynne Unit in Huntsville out of Orange County, died April 26 at Hospital Galveston to which he was taken on April 18.

Frederick Ebenal, who was serving a 48-year sentence at the Telford Unit in New Boston, died April 23 at a hospital after showing symptoms on April 18.

Ralph Neeley, 70, who was serving a life sentence at the Robertson Unit in Abilene out of Jefferson County, died April 29 after he was taken to a local hospital on April 17.

David Randle, 57, who was serving a 60-year sentence out of Brown County at the Estelle Unit, died on April 26 at Hospital Galveston, to which he was taken on April 18.

Luis Garza, 53, who was serving a 25-year sentence at the Wynne Unit, died on April 19 at Hospital Galveston to which he was taken on April 15.

Darrin Houston, 55, who was serving a life sentence out of Dallas County at the Estelle Unit, died on April 18 at Hospital Galveston to which he was taken on April 14.

James Matthews, 66, died on April 13 after he was found unresponsive in his cell at the Beto Unit where he was serving a 40-year sentence out of Hopkins County.

Nathaniel Morgan, 77, who was serving a life sentence at the Wynne Unit out of Tarrant County, died on April 24 at Hospital Galveston after suffering shortness of breath on April 22.

Vaughn Harvey, 70, who was serving a life sentence at the Wynne Unit out of Smith County, died on April 26 at Hospital Galveston to which he was transferred on April 23.

Timothy Bazrowx died on April 23 at Hospital Galveston after suffering from shortness of breath on April 17. He was serving a 20-year sentence out of Ellis County for aggravated sexual assault at the Wynne Unit.

Harold Dean Wilson, 65, also died on April 23 at Hospital Galveston to which he was transferred on April 18. He was serving a 20-year sentence at the Terrell Unit for possession of child pornography out of Randall County.

Thomas Rodriguez, 79, died on Aril 23 at Hospital Galveston to which he was transferred on April 19. Rodriguez, who had underlying conditions, was serving a life sentence for kidnapping out of Harris County at the Wynne Unit.

Robert Hohn, 79, who was serving a 50-year sentence out of Liberty County at the Telford Unit died on April 22 at Hospital Galveston. He had pre-existing conditions.

James Lorke, 65, died on April 21 after he was flown to Hospital Galveston.

He had served 28 years of a 99-year sentence for murder out of Bexar County.

James Nealy, 68, was found unresponsive in his cell on April 15 at the Wynne Unit in Huntsville.

He was pronounced dead at a hospital.

A preliminary autopsy indicated the cause of death was COVID-19.

Nealy was serving a 99-year sentence after he was convicted in Bell County of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Willie Eanes, 84, was taken on April 14 from the Telford Unit to the University of Texas Tyler Medical Center with symptoms consistent with the virus.

He tested positive the next day and died on April 20.

Eanes, who had underlying medical conditions, was serving a 45-year sentence after he was convicted of murder in Tarrant County.

Inmate Bartolo Infante, 72, died on April 7 after testing positive for the virus on April 3 at the Telford Unit in New Boston.

Inmate Leonard Clerkly, 62, who was who was serving a life sentence at the Pack Unit in Navsota for aggravated sexual assault of a child younger than 12 out of Tarrant County, died on April 11.

Inmate Johnny Davis, 60, who was serving a 10-year sentence at the Telford Unit in New Boston for obstruction/retaliation out of Hunt County, died on April 14 after testing positive for the virus.

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