After reporting last week that 1,144 inmates at South Central Correctional Facility in Clifton had tested positive for COVID-19, The Tennessee Department of Correction reported that an inmate at the prison died on Saturday, August 29th, possibly due to COVID-19.
CoreCivic, which operates the Clifton facility, said an emergency was called within the medical unit on Saturday around 3:40 p.m.
“Medical staff immediately began performing emergency life-saving measures until EMS arrived at the facility. Following transport to an area medical facility, the inmate was pronounced deceased at approximately 5 p.m.,” said Ryan Gustin, Manager of Public Affairs for CoreCivic. “CoreCivic staff immediately notified our partners with the Tennessee Department of Correction and an investigation is underway.”
Gustin said the inmate had tested positive for COVID-19 on August 11th. The exact cause of death is pending an official determination.
“We extend our heartfelt sympathy to this individual’s loved ones,” said Gustin.
The state recently performed a mass testing at the facility after ten inmates exhibited symptoms of COVID-19. As of last Tuesday, 1,144 of the 1,410 inmates at the facility had tested positive for COVID-19. CoreCivic said all of the inmates were asymptomatic at the time of testing
“The health and safety of the individuals entrusted to our care and our staff is the top priority for CoreCivic,” said Amanda Gilchrist, Director of Public Affairs for CoreCivic. “The commitment is shared by our partners at the Tennessee Department of Correction, and we have worked closely together with TDOC and state health officials to respond to this unprecedented situation appropriately, thoroughly and with care for the well-being of those entrusted to us and our communities.”
“TDOC is continuing to work with facility leadership to ensure the safety of both staff and inmates through compliance to infection control measures and increased education. The Department will continue to monitor the population and staff,” TDOC said in a statement.
All inmates who test positive for COVID-19 but are asymptomatic will receive daily medical monitoring and health assessments. Those who may become symptomatic but don’t require additional care, such as respiratory support, will be treated in place or at local hospitals, depending on their needs. Staff will self-quarantine and are monitored for symptoms and encouraged to contact their healthcare provider.
All inmates and staff in state facilities are required to wear masks and adhere to COVID-19 disinfection and safety measures.