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NEW BOSTON, Texas —More inmates at the Barry Telford Unit in New Boston have tested positively for COVID-19 and 31 are in medical isolation.

Medical isolation is for "people who are sick and contagious. Isolation is used to separate ill persons who have a communicable disease from those who are healthy," TDCJ's website states.

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Telford has the second highest number of inmates in medical isolation of any unit in the state of Texas. The larger capacity George Beto Unit located near Tennessee Colony in Anderson County has 46 cases in isolation.

As of Thursday afternoon, 15 Telford inmates have tested positively for the novel coronavirus and 16 tests are pending. Telford's positive cases have risen by seven since Wednesday and the number of inmates in isolation has risen by five since Wednesday.

TDCJ announced Wednesday the death of a Telford inmate who died in a Texarkana hospital on Tuesday.

The remaining 2,814 inmates on the unit are in "medical restriction" and the unit, like 14 others where the virus has been found in staff and inmates, is on lockdown.

Medical restriction is, "used to separate and restrict the movement of well persons who may have been exposed to a communicable disease to see if they become ill. These people may have been exposed to a disease and do not know it, or they may have the disease but do not show symptoms," TDCJ's website states.

Only staff assigned to work at Telford are allowed in the facility.

"In all there have been 62 TDCJ employees, staff or contractors and 70 offenders in custody who have tested positive for COVID-19," TDCJ's website said Thursday.

The agency website said Wednesday that four Telford employees have tested positively. Information concerning which units have new positive cases in staff was not provided though the site states that 11 new cases among employees/contractors have been reported as of Thursday.

TDCJ is establishing hotlines for the public to receive information.

"Beginning tomorrow TDCJ's Health Services Division's Patient Liaison Program and our Correctional Managed Healthcare partners at the University of Texas Medical Branch and Texas Tech University Health Science Center will be staffing three hotlines to address inquiries related to COVID-19. Two of these numbers are for offender family members only to get clinical updates of offenders under the universities care. Any release of information is contingent on the offender signing a release of information (ROI) for a designated family member. These numbers will operate from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday-Friday. That allows nursing staff to have the most updated patient information," the TDCJ website states.

UTMB Hotline: 409-747-2727

TTUHSC Hotline: 806-743-3285

TDCJ is also establishing a hotline for government offices, other organizations and lawyers to receive information.

"The TDCJ Patient Liaison Program will also operate a COVID-19 hotline for third parties such as state leadership offices, advocacy groups and others including attorneys and government agencies. This line will operate from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday-Friday," the TDCJ site states.

TDCJ Patient Liaison Hotline: (936) 437-3534

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