In what appears to be one of the largest outbreaks of coronavirus cases at a single location in Texas, a federal prison in Fort Worth reported Thursday that 131 inmates and one staff member had tested positive for the COVID-19 infection.
The prison, known as Federal Medical Center Fort Worth, houses 1,500 inmates who already are in need of medical attention. Many are elderly.
The number of positive cases more than doubled from one day earlier and was nearly four times what it was on Tuesday when 35 inmates had the virus. On Wednesday, the U.S. Bureau of Prisons said 56 inmates and one staff member tested positive.
A 61-year-old inmate who was serving time for a drug conviction died of the disease.
Gregory Watts, a correctional officer and union president at the facility, said late Thursday the number of positive cases had actually skyrocketed to 172, but the official BOP website tracking cases continued to show 131.
John Peter Smith Hospital said on Thursday that 30 coronavirus patients were being treated there – the highest one-day total yet. One-third of the patients at JPS were inmates, the hospital said.
Richard Hill, a spokesman for the Tarrant County Health Department, said county officials were monitoring the outbreak at the prison and acting in a “supportive role.”
Tarrant County reported 99 new coronavirus cases and its 45th death on Thursday.
Tracking COVID-19 Cases in North Texas Counties
NBC 5 is tracking the number of COVID-19 related cases, recoveries and deaths in North Texas counties. Choose a county and click on a city or town to see how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting your area.
Cases are cumulative by day and are subject to change, dependent on each county health department's reporting schedule and methodology. Data may be reported county-wide, by city or town, or not at all. Cases, recoveries and death counts in 'unspecified' categories are used as placeholders and reassigned by their respective counties at a later date.
Data: County Health Departments, NBC 5 Staff