TDOC and TDH Offer Testing for Corrections Employees
NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Correction, in partnership with the Tennessee Department of Health, will launch a proactive testing initiative to further ensure the safety of staff and inmates during the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Beginning Friday, April 10th, the TDH will offer testing for COVID-19 to all employees at the Northwest Correctional Complex in Tiptonville and the Bledsoe County Correctional Complex in Pikeville. Following the positive COVID-19 test results of three TDOC staff members and three contract employees at the two facilities, the TDOC and the TDH began examining a mass testing approach out of an abundance of caution.
“I applaud Governor Lee for dedicating the resources toward this effort,” Commissioner Tony Parker said. “While no inmates at either facility have tested positive, we believe this proactive measure will go a long way in helping to protect staff members, their families and the inmate population. We are ahead of the curve, but make no mistake – just the fact that we’re dealing with a new virus and there is no vaccine for it changes the whole landscape of corrections.”
TDOC staff members at each facility are being notified of the available testing and the TDH will notify each employee of their test results.
Disinfection and safety measures are ongoing at the facilities. All staff and inmates have received cloth masks, and they are being reminded to continue practicing the recommendations from the CDC and the TDH to help prevent spreading COVID-19.