Coronavirus in Knox County: KCSO open, taking extra precautions to keep deputies, communities safe


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Knox County Sheriff Tom Spangler took to social media on Wednesday to address the sheriff’s office current plan in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

As of Wednesday, Knox County has two* recorded cases; one is an isolated case, while the second case patient was never in the area during their illness and health officials recorded the case for Knox County because of the patient’s record of address.

People had been expressing concerns about local law enforcement response amid the coronavirus spread. Spangler saying he felt like some of them needed to hear from him directly regarding the matter.

“The first thing is I want to assure the citizens of Knox County that the sheriff’s office is open for business. Our officers are and will continue to answer calls for service,” Spangler wrote in his post. “The second thing I want to convey to each of you is that your safety is my primary concern as is the safety of each one of the men and women at the Knox County Sheriff’s Office.”

Spangler laid out some of the safety precautions being implemented at the sheriff’s office that also take direction from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Knox County Health Department.

Spangler said he has mandated the KCSO sick leave policy, which means if someone is sick, showing signs of any illness they are required to stay home.

Extra cleaning measures are being taken at each of the KCSO corrections facilities.

Every KCSO inmate is being screened upon intake before being placed in the general population, Spangler said. If an inmate has a fever or is having symptoms of any illness, not just COVID-19, they are transferred to the KCSO medical unit inside the Roger D. Wilson facility to be evaluated by staff.

“We are without a doubt in an unprecedented time, it is important that we all remain calm, take our directives from the health agencies that are receiving the most current information about COVID-19,” Spangler said. “Lastly, we need to help one another where we can. Check on the elderly and disabled and be a good citizen.

“It’s an honor to be your sheriff, the Knox County Sheriff’s Office will continue to serve our community.”

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