Jails take precautions amid coronavirus outbreak, suspending visitation


CHEATHAM COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) -The reaction to the coronavirus is swift and ever-changing.

In the world of incarceration, where many people cluster together in tight spaces, battling the pathogen is a serious concern.

In Cheatham County, there are many new safeguards in place to make sure there are no positive cases.

According to Chief Deputy Tim Binkley, there are 100 prisoners currently in the Cheatham County Jail.

Because the coronavirus thrives in conditions where many people are in confined spaces,
the jail staff has gone on the offensive.

Tim Binkley says, “the nurse and the sheriff and I got together a few weeks ago and formed a plan.”

That plan is multi-faceted.

First, every prisoner is questioned about their immediate health history.

Binkley says, “to see if they’ve been out of the country in the last 21 days, or in contact with anyone who has this virus.”

Binkley says every incoming prisoner is given a thorough medical screening that includes vitals and blood pressure administered by a full-time LPN.

Binkley tells News 2 this is a new procedure.

“It is new. We only did the vitals when they were here for a couple of days.”

Binkley says the jail will continue to digitally take the temperature of every prisoner to make sure they exhibit no signs of fever. it’s a practice the jail has been using for a while, he says.

Binkley says Jail staff and department employees will be encouraged to wash their hands, use sanitizing gel, and practice good hygiene. In addition, masks and gloves will be given to the appropriate personnel. Deep cleaning the Jail.

Binkley says he has been in contact with a company that says it can spray a sanitizing solution that will kill germs and is not harmful to people.

“So the company we talked to earlier, they have a spray, they can come in, it won’t harm any inmates and it evaporates pretty quickly.”

Binkley says the department wants each deputy on the road to have cleansers and hand sanitizer for skin and equipment. Because that is hard to find sometimes, the department is strongly considering making their own sanitizer; a solution that is 2 parts rubbing alcohol and one part aloe gel.

News 2 has also checked in with other County Jails.

Dickson County Sheriff Jeff Bledsoe says, “Our medical provider is screening each with questions then if 24 hours or longer in jail they do a medical assessment which includes temperature and other vitals for condition of health. We have increased our frequency of deep cleaning and sanitizing. The flu is hitting us more at this time.”

Williamson County Jail put out this Tweet: Inmate visitation @WCSO_Sheriff is suspended, effective today March 12, 2020. There are NOT any confirmed cases of coronavirus in our jail, but we are taking this action to protect our staff and inmates.

The Hickman County Jail put out this notice: Out of an abundance of caution and following the recommendations of our jail health care provider as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) all outside contact with inmates will be suspended until further notice. All religious functions, GED programs, outside working parties, outside / in house counseling programs or group meetings are suspended. All attorneys and legal meetings will be held in the bonding room only and there will be no contact. We are sorry for any inconvenience this will cause.

Sumner County Sheriff, Sonny Weatherford says,

“The Sumner County Sheriff’s Office is being proactive with new touchless infrared thermometers in the intake area of the jail. Our office is trying to keep the coronavirus from getting in and infecting hundreds of inmates and employees.

Stay with News 2 for continuing coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic.


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