The surge of COVID infections with the emergence of the delta variant has jail staff focused on preventing the spread of the virus among the 258 people confined at the Nacogdoches County jail this week.

On Wednesday, Sheriff Jason Bridges said five of those being detained tested positive that morning. Two of the five were scheduled to receive infusion therapy, he added.

For those diagnosed while in jail, Bridges said jailers are seeing that inmates receive treatments prescribed by a doctor “just as if they were in the free world.”

The specific treatment is based on the symptoms the person experiences, he said.

Mothers of two of the men being held there have reached out to The Daily Sentinel this week. One of them has a son who tested positive Wednesday. The other man tested negative Wednesday.

Both women claimed that incarcerated persons who test positive are being returned to holding cells with a general population.

One mother complained that over-the-counter medicines like Tylenol were being charged to her son’s commissary account.

Bridges said jail staff have a motive to prevent the virus from spreading there, since they work among the inmates.

Currently, two deputies who normally work patrol have COVID-19. One jailer is still on medical leave fighting the virus.

“The jail is currently at capacity,” Bridges said. “When you have this amount of traffic, it’s difficult to prevent it entirely. We learned a lot in the first wave, and we hope we are better and stopping the spread now.”

Jailers ask medical questions and check temperatures during the booking process, Bridges said. Detainees are tested often.

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