Substance abuse counselor who visited inmates at Richmond prison tests positive for coronavirus, officials announce


HOUSTON – The Texas Department of Criminal Justice announced Monday that a contract employee of Management and Training Corporation tested positive for coronavirus.

The employee, a substance abuse counselor, passed all unit entry screenings and attended a training session with other employees on March 17. Officials said the employee had cell side counseling visits with a “limited number of restricted housing offenders at the Jester 1 Unit in Richmond.”

Officials said the employee went home early that day and visited a doctor who issued him a clear to work note. The employee returned to work on March 21 and saw more inmates in restrictive housing, officials said. The inmates were behind a door and had no physical contact with the employee, officials said.

The employee discovered he was tested for the coronavirus Sunday afternoon and was ordered to self-quarantine, officials said.

The TDCJ said it received the lab results Monday morning.

“No one in contact with the counselor are symptomatic at this time," TDCJ officials wrote in a statement. "The MTC employees who were in the training session on the 17th are not at work and are in self-quarantine. The offenders who had limited contact with the employee are all restrictive housing offenders who had limited contact through hard cell doors with the counselor.”

Dr. Lannette Linthicum, TDCJ’s Health Services Director, released the following statement:

“TDCJ and our university partners are prepared to treat and manage COVID-19 cases as outlined in the coronavirus disease 2019 infectious disease policy. Any offenders who had any possible contact with the counselor are being closely monitored by medical staff."

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