The Huntsville Item, Huntsville, TX

Local News

January 21, 2010

Huntsville Unit on lockdown due to virus

One Walker County TDCJ Unit remains on lockdown and others are still undergoing medical restrictions as an outbreak of norovirus has left numerous offenders ill.

Norovirus, a gastrointestinal disease most commonly responsible for stomach flu, first began appearing in TDCJ units throughout the region earlier this month. Last week the TDCJ Public Information Office reported that weekend visits had been suspended at several units, including the Huntsville Walls Unit.

According to TDCJ Public Information Officer Jason Clark, cases of the virus have continued to appear, and the Huntsville Unit remains on lockdown while other county units, including the Byrd, Goree, Ellis and Estelle Units, are still undergoing various medical restrictions.

“On the units where offenders are ill, staff has begun heavy sanitation in the common areas,” Clark said. “Before any offender leaves the unit, he or she is screened to make sure they're not showing symptoms of the illness. We have also stopped routine medical appointments this week to Hospital Galveston to help prevent the spread of the virus to the hospital.”

The current count of infected offenders at the Huntsville Unit is 159, up from 128 last week. The Estelle Unit currently reports 148 infected offenders and the Byrd Unit 41. Both the Goree and Ellis units report less than 15 infected offenders.

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