Coronavirus in Tennessee: 141 inmates test positive for COVID-19 at Blount County Correctional Facility

Coronavirus

MARYVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Blount County Sheriff James Berrong said Friday 141 inmates have tested positive at Blount County Correctional Facility.

Berrong says that the sheriff’s office partnered with Blount County Health Department and Southern Health Partners to test over 600 inmates and deputies on Tuesday, August 25.

Out of the 493 inmates tested, 141 tested positive.

Out of the 126 employees tested, 0 tested positive.

Berrong also says that 97.9% of the inmates that tested positive are asymptomatic, one inmate is under medical care, and three have reported mild symptoms.

The sheriff also states that not only are they following CDC guidelines and COVID-19 recommendations from the state; they’ve also implemented a policy where new inmates entering the jail are quarantined away from the general inmate population for 14 days, unless they make bond within the 14 day quarantine period.

“We are doing the best we can with the resources that are provided to us. Our correctional facility is certified for 350 inmates. Our average daily population today is 530, and our population is 500 or above on a routine basis and has been for several years. We do not have the space to quarantine hundreds of inmates, and it is physically not possible to practice physical distancing with our inmate population. We are dealing with an extremely unfortunate set of circumstances and we are grappling with the reality of our situation. Releasing our inmate population into the general public just isn’t an option.”

Sheriff Berrong

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