Tennessee inmate who tested positive for COVID-19 dies

Posted at 11:31 AM, May 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-05 19:40:49-04

HARTSVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — An inmate at Trousdale Turner Correctional Center who tested positive for COVID-19 has died.

The Tennessee Department of Corrections said the exact cause of death is still pending per determination by a medical examiner.

Family members identified the man as 67-year-old Ronnie Johnson. Johnson was a convicted serial rapist who was sentenced to life in prison in the 80s. He was released after serving 34 years in prison.

READ MORE: Southside Rapist Granted Parole

The 67-year-old man was back in prison for violating his parole. Officials say he was taken to the hospital and given a test for the novel coronavirus on April 25. He died early Monday morning.

Six Tennessee inmates who have tested positive for COVID-19 are currently being treated in hospitals, with one in serious condition.

Last week, CoreCivc, which operates the prison, said 1,299 inmates out of 2,444 who were given tests had a positive COVID-19 result. The majority of inmates who tested positive did not have any symptoms.


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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.