HCSO Awarded $440,000 Tennessee Department Of Health ELC Confinement Grant

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Sheriff Jim Hammond and Chief Deputy Austin Garrett announce the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office has been awarded a Tennessee Department of Health Epidemiology & Laboratory Capacity Confinement Facilities Award for the amount of $440,066.

This ELC award is part of the Tennessee Department of Health’s mission to reduce and prevent the spread of COVID-19 in confinement facilities such as prisons and jails in Tennessee. This funding is offered in partnership with the Center for Disease Control and the United States Department of Justice.

According to a March 2021 Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Report conducted from March 2020 to June 2020, jails conducted 215,360 inmate COVID-19 tests. Of those tests, more than 11 percent were positive. The report further noted that Jails in counties with confirmed residential COVID-19 infection rates of 1 percent or more tested nearly 21 percent of persons admitted to their jails from March 2020 to June 2020.

In addition to the above study, The Marshall Project: COVID Cases in Prisons found that by mid-December of 2020, one in five state and federal prisoners in the United States tested positive for the coronavirus, a rate more than four times higher than the general population. Additionally, COVID-19 infections in confinement facility staff have also significantly hampered daily operations and services to inmates.

The HCSO will utilize the funds awarded from this grant to enhance its ability to sanitize the Silverdale Detention Center by purchasing additional cleaning equipment to be used in housing units, common spaces, and transportation vehicles which will allow us to continue to meet or exceed State of Tennessee and Tennessee Corrections Institute standards. The grant will also support the implementation of a hospital grade air purification system for all of the housing units and common spaces and the construction of a new attorney-client visitation space that supports video visitation and court appearances with individual stations with partitions.  Lastly, some of the funds will be utilized for COVID-19 inmate education and mitigation measures for HCSO Re-Entry and Chaplaincy programming like desk barriers, thermometers, and portable handwashing stations.

“While COVID-19 cases continue to decrease in many confinement facilities, the HCSO acknowledges that inmates are at increased risk of transmitting and spreading the COVID-19 virus due to their incarcerated status,” said Sheriff Jim Hammond. “This grant will help our agency purchase additional cleaning materials and equipment necessary to ensure we continue to provide the safest, healthiest environment possible for our inmates and staff at the Silverdale Detention Center."

Year to date, the HCSO Corrections Division via QCHC, the contract medical provider at Silverdale, have administered 516 COVID-19 vaccinations in 2021 and performed 297 COVID-19 tests on inmates. As of Monday, there were no inmates reported with COVID-19 at Silverdale. To date, 47 inmates have tested positive for COVID-19.


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A woman at Taco Mac at 423 Market St. said a white male wearing a navy blue jumpsuit (similar to a mechanic's uniform) with the name "Elvis" stitched into the left chest area, came into the restaurant ... (click for more)

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