150 inmates at Bledsoe County Correctional Facility test positive for COVID-19 this weekend

Posted at 10:53 AM, Apr 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-20 11:53:45-04

PIKEVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The Tennessee Department of Corrections continued testing inmates for COVID-19 at three facilities over the weekend. Around 3,500 inmates were tested for the virus on Saturday and Sunday.

On Saturday, 424 inmates at Bledsoe County Correctional Complex in Pikeville were tested. The following day, 3,100 inmates at Bledsoe, Turney Center Industrial Complex and Northwest Correctional Complex were tested.

TDOC said 150 inmates at Bledsoe tested positive for the virus over the weekend, most of which did not have any symptoms. They are now being isolated from the rest of the population at the facility. In total, 162 inmates at the facility have tested positive.

All inmates at Bledsoe County Correctional Complex will be tested, TDOC said.

Since April 4, 170 Tennessee inmates have tested positive for COVID-19.

At the Turney Center Industrial Complex in Hickman County, a total of five inmates have tested positive for the coronavirus. Two inmates at Northwest Correctional Complex in Tiptonville have tested positive. Additionally, one inmate at Trousdale Turner Correctional Center has a confirmed case.

Inmates who are being tested at Turney and Northwest either had direct exposure to a confirmed case, had symptoms, or were potentially exposed due to the facility living structure.

Last week, TDOC reported 19 corrections employees and contract workers tested positive for COVID-19, all of which did not have symptoms.

TDOC did not say if any inmates or staff have since recovered from the virus. Cloth masks have been given to all staff and inmates.


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What is COVID-19 (a.k.a. the new coronavirus?)

According to the World Health Organization, coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases. Examples include the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV)and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. COVID-19 stands for "Coronavirus disease 2019," which is when this strain of the coronavirus was discovered.

What are the symptoms?

The CDC says patients confirmed to have the 2019-nCoV reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

Or at least two of the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

At this time, the CDC believes symptoms could appear as soon as two days after exposure, or as long as 14 days.


The CDC is recommending "common sense" measures such as:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.