The Shelby County Health Department (SCHD) said Tuesday that it will begin mass testing at the county’s corrections facility.
The testing of 517 staff members and near 1,500 inmates at the Shelby County Divisions of Corrections facility on Mullins Station Road will be done beginning June 2nd (today) until June 8th. This comes as a result of a partnership between the Shelby County government and the Tennessee Department of Health. The state health department is paying for the testing kits, laboratory fees, and personal protective equipment for SCHD personnel.
“Men and women serving time and those awaiting trial deserve humanity and compassion, just like all the rest of us,” said Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris. “That’s why we have been working so hard to surge the testing at our facilities. This surge is expected to be one of the largest organized testing efforts since the arrival of COVID-19. We will continue to expand our efforts to make our facilities safe, protect the vulnerable, and lift the least of these concerns.”
Alisa Haushalter, director of the SCHD, said inmates and employees in correctional facilities are considered vulnerable populations because the congregate living arrangements makes social distancing difficult.
She adds that testing in the facilities will identify any asymptomatic cases, which will allow for those individuals to be isolated.
“Having this opportunity to provide COVID-19 testing to our staff and offenders is comforting,” said Anthony Alexander, director of Corrections, “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.”