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New COVID-19 test for Gregg County inmates

WebXtra: New COVID-19 test for inmates
WebXtra: New COVID-19 test for inmates
Published: Aug. 6, 2021 at 2:38 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 6, 2021 at 10:53 PM CDT
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LONGVIEW, Texas (KLTV) - Jails have been hit hard over the past year with the pandemic; the Gregg County Sheriff’s Office has devised a new way to help with the fight against COVID-19 in the jail.

New arrestees are given a pre-screening with a nurse assessment, then a temperature check. If they are showing any signs or symptoms, they are immediately sent to receive medical clearance. However, if they pass that first stage, all officers and arrestees are given a mask to enter the book-in area.

Before book-in begins, a nasal swab rapid test is given to process during the book-in process. These rapid tests were made available through the emergency management coordinator.

Before individuals can even be housed in the Gregg County Jail, they now face a two-pronged test for COVID-19.

“It’s our responsibility to keep every person in our care safe and healthy. We are going to do everything we can to fight COVID from getting into our jail,” said Lieutenant Josh Tubb.

With the threat of the Delta variant out there, and being hit hard the first time around, the rapid test was implemented.

The first screening will begin in the jail’s sally-port when arrestees are brought in, and then they’ll move on to the rapid test.

The test is given in the book-in room, and by the time paperwork is finished, test results are ready.

“You take your sample and put it in the bottom of the test pack. Much quicker. The results are right in front of us. We don’t have to send them to a lab. The officers have to wait for the results before they can leave the inmate with us,” says jail nursing supervisor Treba Garvin.

The sheriff’s office equates its success rate to the efforts they’ve taken.

“We went from over 50 positive at our worst point, with 50 positive staff on top of that, to now we have 1 positive inmate,” says Tubb.

Any inmate who tests positive who remains housed in the jail is placed in an isolation cell where only one staff member has access, and meals are provided in plastic containers which are immediately thrown away after use.

There is an alternative if someone tests positive in rapid test. One option is to take the arrestee to medical clearance or, based on the charge, release the arrestee for medical treatment and file on them through district attorney office and press a warrant at a later date. This option is determined by the arresting officer.

The Gregg County Sheriff’s Office staff is 100% vaccinated.

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