Webb County Sheriff Martin Cuellar today announced that since COVID-19 testing began at the Webb County Jail on April 2, 18 inmates have tested positive and 9 have recovered.

The remaining nine positive cases are quarantined and away from the general population.

“We are taking extreme measures to ensure the safety of our employees and inmates,” said Sheriff Cuellar. “But unfortunately, this is a large jail and we don’t know where these inmates have been and with whom they have associated prior to coming into our jail.”

“In reference to employees being infected, we have a hand-full, but they are recovering and showing no symptoms, as they are quarantined. One of my employees was very ill with COVID-19, and is recovering. I pray everyday for his health and recovery,” said Sheriff Cuellar. “I also took it upon myself to test all employees and the results showed two employees testing positive, as they were asymptomatic and were quickly relieved from their duties and sent to see their doctor.”

Since last month, the jail has been disinfected three times a day and the inmates have been given their masks and employees have been provided with personal protective equipment, which includes masks, gloves, face shields, and face shields.

In addition, Sheriff Cuellar has taken a proactive approach and converted the women’s quarters into a medical ward. They installed negative pressure systems to mirror a hospital setting. These systems filter out any germs or bacteria that may be present. Heavy-duty plastic wraps were also placed in all jail cells to keep the inmates and staff better protected.

Recommendations from the local Health Department, medical authorities, and the Texas Commission on Jail Standards have been followed.

“We have done and continue to do everything in our reach to provide a safe setting for all. We have received praises from inmates who are thanking us for the job we are doing to keep them safe, but unfortunately, we also have those inmates who are taking advantage of the pandemic and are speaking negatively of our efforts because they want to be released,” Sheriff Cuellar noted.

“I understand we have some discontent inmates, but do you really think I’m going risk the lives and safety of the employees and inmates? Of course I am not going to risk their lives. We are going to continue our efforts to keep them safe and to contain this virus.”

“As your Sheriff, I am responsible to inform the public of all the happenings at the Sheriff’s Office and I will continue to work hard everyday to ensure the safety of all the residents of Webb County and the City of Laredo,” added Sheriff Cuellar.