Anderson County Sheriff Greg Taylor  

To help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, Anderson County jail staff are screening incoming inmates for health problems.

Sheriff Greg Taylor said that, starting early last week, jail staff have filled out questionnaires on everyone entering the jail, including queries about where suspects have been recently, as well as any symptoms, such as fever or body aches.

“It has always been our policy that, if someone is ill or displaying signs of illness, such as vomiting, they are taken to the (Emergency Room) and checked out before they are admitted into the jail,” Taylor said. “Inmates that could possibly be ill, but aren’t showing signs or symptoms, are monitored in an isolation area, so that they don't infect other inmates.”

Jails inmates must live in close-quarters, with multiple prisoners in a cell, making so-called social distancing practically impossible.

As of Monday, Anderson County had not reported any confirmed cases of the coronavirus. Texas has reported more than 350 confirmed cases, including five in the Tyler area, about 45 miles from Palestine.

Additionally, courts may consider Personal Recognizance bonds for non-violent misdemeanors.

Otherwise, Taylor said, procedures and policies in the sheriff's office remain the same.

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