Deputies Possibly Exposed to COVID-19
Yesterday, news outlets were reporting that 11 deputies with the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office are self-quarantining due to possible infection with COVID -19. A doctor at University Hospital in San Antonio, tested positive for the virus. That doctor was the treating physician for an inmate who was being guarded by deputies. As deputies switched off during different shifts, they may have come into contact with the doctor.
It Was Always Going to Happen
This is exactly the kind of situation we have been warning about and that we don’t feel Sheriff Javier Salazar has done anywhere near enough to prepare for. One instance of possible contact has taken 11 deputies away from their duties. The Bexar County Jail is already down approximately 200 deputies. They simply cannot afford to have a large number of deputies out. In a previous article we mentioned the possibility of 20 or 30 officers being out at one time. It seems those numbers may have been conservative when you look at how many deputies were exposed from one incident.
Sheriff Salazar may have generated an emergency plan but it was woefully lacking in details about how they would cover shortages when they just didn’t have the people. We wrote an article about that too, hoping he would put out more information but nothing so far.
Coronavirus Outbreak at the Jail
I have no doubt that there will be a coronavirus outbreak at the jail. We are in the early stages of the coronavirus spread here in San Antonio and it’s already affected the jail. Commissioners Court, the courts and the District Attorney’s Office have tried to help lower the jail’s population by releasing non-violent offenders but the results have been negligible since the released inmates were quickly replaced with new prisoners. See the KSAT 12 article on the jail population here.
Sheriff Salazar still needs to figure out what he is going to do if he hits a point where he cannot safely staff the jail. If Salazar had shown us even an inkling of decent leadership skills in the past three years, I wouldn’t be so concerned but since that hasn’t happened, I fear for the safety of everyone in the jail, employees and inmates.