Two Hardin County Detention Center inmates say conditions inside the jail are troubling with sick inmates not getting timely or proper care.
Terrence Williams, 45, of Elizabethtown, said in a phone interview he became ill with COVID-19 inside the detention center in September. He has been an inmate since June 9 when he was booked on a variety of charges.
He said he took a COVID-19 test around Sept. 16 and it came back positive Sept. 17. He said he spent 17 days in a medical holding area of the jail.
“It’s like four cells, a little medical area,” Williams said. “When they first put me in there I was with four other people so they put me in with someone else and I gave it to him. He tested positive.”
He said it took the efforts of his family and others just to get tested for COVID.
“I’ve been locked up; I haven’t been out, so I had to get it in here,” Williams said. “An outside doctor came in and she asked for me to have a test. I kept telling them (jail staff) that I wasn’t feeling good and they kept playing me off. I told them I was feeling dizzy and they told me to lay down. When I tested positive, they couldn’t look at me anymore.”
Jailer Josh Lindblom said anyone who needs any type of medical assistance simply has to request it and the request then goes to the medical department.
“Anyone who needs to be checked out is checked out,” he said.
Terrell Matthews Jr., 37, of Radcliff, said inmates didn’t have masks until September and when they had them on in different parts of the facility, jail staff told them to not wear them.
He also said there were more people who tested positive than the two inmates Lindblom recently had claimed.
“There are people in here sick and they are with everybody in here,” he said in a Tuesday phone interview, “so more people are getting sick.”
Lindblom said Friday afternoon over the last 10 days, there were nine positive tests among 36 tests administered on inmates. There currently are no deputy jailers or staff members with COVID-19, but there had been some since March.
“If somebody says they are sick, we can test the whole pod if we want,” Lindblom said. Masks have been required of staff and inmates much longer than last month.
He also disputed any claim that inmates who are sick are not properly being treated.
“I don’t know what more we can do,” he said. “If someone is sick, all they have to do is make a request and it goes straight to our medical people and they’re right here.”
A medical area of the detention is staffed around the clock, every day, Lindblom said.
He said the nine positive case inmates were in quarantine as of Friday. None of the inmates have been hospitalized because of COVID-19.
Lindblom admitted the virus presents a unique challenge to the staff given inmates typically are in close proximity to each other. When someone is booked into the jail, they have their temperature checked and are placed in isolation for at least 14 days and have their temperature taken twice a day until they are placed with the general population or are bonded out of the jail.
He said inmates are placed in areas of the facility with other inmates with similar charges.
“We have nine people in one pod under medical care and they seem to be doing fine, per our nurse practitioner,” Lindblom said. “And they’ll be retested. It’s just one of those things, what else can you do? We’re trying to keep it out and if someone is sick, we’ll take care of then.”
Williams said he has had some lingering issues from the virus.
“I feel OK. I still can’t smell and I can taste a little bit,” he said. “I don’t breathe the same. Other than that, I’m living.”