A contract kitchen worker at Rutherford County Adult Detention Center was diagnosed with COVID-19 after being admitted to the hospital, while at least 50 inmates and staff have been tested.
The Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office made the announcement Wednesday.
The kitchen worker was admitted to Vanderbilt University Medical Center for an unknown reason but tested positive for COVID-19, the RCSO said, quoting Dr. Dan Rudd, Detention Center medical director.
Because of contract tracing, about 50 inmates and staff underwent a mass screening at the Detention Center, the RCSO said. One inmate, who works in the kitchen, tested positive on a screen test for COVID-19. He was placed in isolation and underwent an antibody test that was negative. He took a separate lab test and another nasal swab with results pending. He remained in isolation until the medical staff was sure of his status.
“He remains in isolation until we can be sure of his status,” Rudd said. “Right now, we are using all precautions necessary in awaiting all results of the test. The inmate has no symptoms.
The Murfreesboro Post asked the sheriff’s office whether all inmates and staff would be tested and what measures were being taken to protect everyone.
Lisa Marchesoni, public information officer, spoke with Rudd and said inmates “will be tested on medical needs. New inmates undergo a medical evaluation when entering the facility. Inmates have access to medical needs.”
In the RCSO statement, Rudd said the vast majority of infections are transmitted person to person, not by contact exposure.
“The risk to anyone from food is very low,” Rudd said.
The medical staff will continue to monitor the situation carefully.
“We are doing everything I know to be safe,” Rudd said.
Deputy Chief Chris Fly said inmates in the kitchen wear gloves and hair nets. In addition, all kitchen workers are being issued single-use masks daily.
The jail staff conducted additional sanitation above and beyond what they have done since the start of the pandemic, the RCSO said.
“Even if the test comes back as conclusive negative, we will still quarantine the inmate for 14 days and release him upon the medical staff’s recommendation,” Fly said.