After a third round of mass testing over the weekend, the Tennessee Department of Correction reports 170 inmates have tested positive for COVID-19 at four prisons throughout the state.
The largest outbreak is at Bledsoe County Correctional Complex in Pikeville, where 162 prisoners have tested positive and are in isolation. TDOC says the “vast majority” were asymptomatic, but that it’s testing all inmates at the prison “out of an abundance of caution.”
The department tested more than 3,000 inmates at the Bledsoe County prison, Turney Center Industrial Complex (5 cases), Northwest Correctional Complex (2 cases) and Trousdale Turner Correctional Center (1 case) over the weekend, after confirmed cases started cropping up among both staffers and inmates. Testing at some facilities has been fairly exhaustive, while other prisons are taking a more targeted approach and assessing inmates when officials believe they’ve been exposed to the virus.
Last weekend, TDOC conducted mass testing of employees at the Bledsoe and Northwest prisons. More than 1,100 state employees and contract workers were assessed and 19 tested positive. They’ve all been asked to self-isolate for 14 days and tell those who may have been exposed to get tested.
TDOC says it has provided cloth masks to all staff and inmates. The department has not yet announced any plans to expand testing to all prisoners.