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'She dedicated herself completely': Texas correctional officer dies from COVID-19 less than one month after beginning career

Tracey Adams began her career with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice on Jan. 19, testing positive after having symptoms less than a month later on Feb. 11.
Credit: Texas Department of Criminal Justice

BEAUMONT, Texas — A Southeast Texas correctional officer is the most recent Texas Department of Criminal Justice employee to die in connection to COVID-19.

Tracey Adams, 45, was a correctional officer who started two months ago at The Stiles Unit in Beaumont. She is the 43rd Texas Department of Criminal Justice employee to die from COVID-19.

Adams began her career with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice on Jan. 19, testing positive after having symptoms less than a month later on Feb. 11.

Adams was hospitalized in a Beaumont hospital the day after testing positive. She died on March 6.

RELATED: 5 more Texas prison inmates have died from coronavirus

Texas Department of Criminal Justice Executive Director Bryan Collier said Adams "dedicated herself completely to that service and for that we are grateful."

"Once you join the TDCJ family you are a part of that family and we are in this together," Collier said. "We hold the Adams family in our prayers this day. Know that Ms. Adams will be missed and remembered.”

Training and Leader Development Division Director David Yebra also spoke about Adams, saying that she was "very determined" and "driven to succeed."

“Starting a new career can be difficult but she took on that challenge head on and full steam," Yebra said. "Our hope is that her family finds comfort in this difficult time knowing she chose to serve.”

RELATED: No Way Out: Here are the Texas prison employees who have died of COVID-19

A WFAA investigation with The Marshall Project from the end of 2020 exposed how COVID-19 was allowed to spread through state prisons due to a lackluster response by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

By early December, more than 33,000 staff and prisoners had caught the virus, and in addition to the more than 100 prisoner fatalities, at least 26 staff members died after catching COVID-19.