Kitchen worker at Rutherford County Detention Center tests positive for COVID-19

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Posted at 1:54 PM, May 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-20 14:54:15-04

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WTVF) — Several inmates and staff at the Rutherford County Detention Center have been screened for COVID-19 after a kitchen worker tested positive for the virus.

The Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office said the contract worker was admitted to Vanderbilt University Medical Center and later tested positive. As a result, about 50 inmates and staff were screened.

One inmate who also works in the kitchen tested positive on a screen test. Officials said he took a separate lab test, along with another nasal swab, and those results are pending. He remains in isolation until those results come back.

Dr. Dan Rudd, the detention center’s medical director, said that because the majority of infections are transmitted person-to-person, the risk to anyone from food is very low.

However, officials said the medical staff will continue to monitor the situation. They said inmates in the kitchen wear gloves and hair nets and all kitchen workers are being issued single-use masks daily.


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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.