Just 2 Out of 1349 Infected with THE PLAGUE in Tennessee Prison Have Any Symptoms
All Tennessee inmates and correction staff will be tested for the coronavirus as part of a new widespread initiative to mitigate the spread of the virus amid multiple massive prison outbreaks in the state, Gov. Bill Lee announced on Friday.
The governor’s office said more than half of the inmates and staff tested at Trousdale Turner Correctional Center in Hartsville tested positive for the virus.
Of the 2,725 total tests given at the facility this week, at least 1,349 came back positive, according to CoreCivic, the national private corporation that runs Trousdale Turner.
That marks the third largest prison outbreak reported in the nation, based on data compiled by The New York Times.
“I think we’re experiencing something here in Tennessee that other states have seen,” said Tony Parker, commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Correction, on Friday at the governor’s daily briefing. “I think the one difference with us is we’ve decided to go ahead and test the whole population.”
Just two of the inmates who tested positive exhibited symptoms, CoreCivic said in a statement, and both are being treated at a nearby hospital.
The for-profit prison management firm also runs three other Tennessee state prisons.
Of the positive cases, 1,299 were inmates and another 50 were staff. An additional 52 tests have results pending.
“The rate of infection at the Trousdale Turner Correctional Center is consistent with or below what is being reported by other correctional systems nationally,” CoreCivic’s public affairs office said in a statement Friday, noting that more than 70% of federal inmates have tested positive for the virus, according to recently released data.
Dr. Lisa Piercey, commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Health, said questions still remain about why barely any of the inmates or staff at the state’s prisons have shown symptoms and what that means for the virus outside prison walls.
“It’s a real head-scratcher why they have such a high asymptomatic rate,” Piercey said.