Taylor County Jail reports no COVID-19 cases, unsure of when inmates can get vaccines

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ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – The Taylor County Jail is reporting no COVID-19 cases and says they haven’t heard any news on when inmates might be eligible for vaccines.

John Wood was booked into Taylor County Detention Center in March of 2019. The onset of the novel coronavirus pandemic made him more than just a little uneasy.

“I was scared to death,” said Wood.  

Wood says a lot of people in his cell had COVID-19. 

“When they came around and did the testing, they lost my test results, so I ended up getting sick a couple of weeks later,” said Wood. 

In July the jail had an outbreak including 274 out of the 850 total inmates.  

“In a jail, you don’t have the room to social distance,” said Captain Tim Trawick. 

Trawick says now, the jail has closer to 600 total inmates. 

“We’re not having to fill capacity on each populated house, where there may be six, seven, eight, instead of 12 or up to 16,” Trawick says.

So if an inmate does show symptoms, they can be tested and placed in a single cell to quarantine.  

Only six deputies at the jail have been offered the vaccine. 

“We don’t know yet on our inmates, we have not heard any news on when they will be vaccinating them,” said Trawick. 

Sgt. David Olson, corrections officer, says he’s not worried about getting the vaccine before the inmates do. 

“I think if we’re going to do it inside the jail, I think everyone needs to get it at the same time. If we do get another spread out, that might control it a little bit better,” said Olson. 

And even though Wood got sick, he isn’t sure if he will take the vaccine if offered. 

“I am concerned about it, because I don’t think they have tested it long enough. It’s too soon,” said Wood.  

The health department says that only detention center workers are covered in the early stages and will be inoculated when vaccines are available. 

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