County health officials Monday confirmed a man in his 50s incarcerated at the Denton County Jail has died from COVID-19.
Jennifer Rainey, a spokesperson for Denton County Public Health, confirmed the man was a Denton County resident, but she directed further questions to the Denton County Sheriff’s Office.
The inmate was 52-year-old Rodney Puente of The Colony. Puente was booked into the county jail on Sept. 16, 2019, from a federal prison in Mississippi to await trial on two local offenses — indecency with a child involving sexual contact and continuous sexual abuse of a child under 14 in 2007. Assistant Chief Barry Caver, with the Sheriff’s Office, said he didn’t know what felony Puente had been charged with to be held in a federal prison.
Puente was hospitalized on Sept. 22 and was there for 26 days prior to his death Sunday. Caver said his understanding is that Puente went into cardiac arrest Sunday and that hospital staff were unable to resuscitate him.
Puente’s trial on the local charges had been scheduled for April 13 but was canceled.
Caver said Puente had multiple serious medical problems.
“We’ve seen it happen a bunch,” Caver said. “Their confinement exacerbates medical conditions they have.”
The Texas Rangers are also investigating Puente’s death because he was an inmate, Caver said.
Puente’s death makes the 118th confirmed death caused by the disease in the county, according to DCPH. The Texas Department of State Health Services, which uses less stringent protocols than the county, had confirmed 165 deaths from COVID-19 in Denton County by Monday afternoon.
County health officials Monday also confirmed 153 more people had tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19.
Twenty-eight of those newly infected locals live in Denton, 26 live in Lewisville, 25 live in unincorporated Denton County, and 23 live in Carrollton.
As of Monday afternoon, 15,285 people in the county had tested positive for the coronavirus; county health officials estimated 2,438 of those people were still infected.
Public school officials at Argyle Middle School reported one student had tested positive for the virus Friday.
Denton ISD officials reported positive virus tests for two students at Newton Rayzor Elementary School, two at Rodriguez Middle School and one student at Hawk Elementary School.
Aubrey ISD officials Friday reported one staffer who works at Monaco Elementary School had tested positive.