Programs halted at Sevier County Corrections Facilities as area’s COVID positivity rate crosses 25%

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Sevier County Sheriff Ron Seals. (FILE Photo)

SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Volunteer programs and ministries conducted inside Sevier County corrections facilities are once again on hold due to concern about COVID-19, according to Sevier County Sheriff Ron Seals. Tennessee Department of Health data shows that over the past 7 days, 1 out of every 4 COVID-19 tests conducted in Sevier County returns positive for the virus.

Seals said Thursday the programs are temporarily halted, “out of an abundance of caution due to COVID-19 concerns.” A post on the sheriff’s office website says the decision will be re-evaluated daily and based on current impact of COVID-19 in that area. There are no reports of any cases inside the facilities at this time.

In addition to a 25.1% 7-day positivity rate, the average number of cases reported daily have nearly doubled over the past 14 days, according to state data. It follows a trend of increasing COVID-19 cases being reported across the nation in recent weeks.

14-day average for new cases reported in Sevier County:
  • July 21 to August 3: An average of 37.6 new cases reported daily
  • August 4 to August 17: An average of 61.2 cases reported daily

Since the pandemic began, there have been 15,145 virus cases reported with 186 deaths. The state data shows 312 people have been hospitalized.

Sevier County has two correctional facilities in Sevierville with a capacity total of 570.

This is a developing story. Download the WATE 6 News app for updates sent to your phone.

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