MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The Shelby County Health Department began testing inmates and staff at the Shelby County Division of Corrections facility Tuesday.
The facility, on Mullins Station Road, says the testing will continue through Monday, June 8 offering testing to all 517 corrections division staff members and nearly 1,500 inmates.
Inmates and employees at correctional facilities are considered vulnerable populations due to their living arrangements, according to health officials. It is difficult to social distance in many of the spaces provided making testing necessary.
SCHD says their employees will be conducting the testing and the state health department will provide funding for the test kits, lab fees and PPE for health department personnel.
“Having this opportunity to provide COVID-19 testing to our staff and offenders is comforting,” said Corrections Director Anthony C. Alexander. “Corrections employees are first responders who risk their health and safety daily, and our offenders deserve to be housed in a safe and humane environment. Testing will provide much-needed reassurance to our employees, offenders, and their families.”
Tennessee Governor Bill Lee has also been pushing for coronavirus testing prisons across the state.