Tennessee prisons report 4th inmate death in virus outbreak


FILE – Trousdale Turner Correctional Center is shown in a Tuesday, May 24, 2016 file photo, in Hartsville, Tenn. Trousdale County has the highest per capita coronavirus infection rate in the U.S. and Bledsoe County has the fifth. That’s according to an Associated Press analysis. In both counties, the high infection rates are attributable to their local prisons. Trousdale County has 1,363 cases of the virus. Nearly all of those are from the Trousdale Turner Correctional Center. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, File)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A fourth Tennessee prison inmate has died after contracting the coronavirus, according to the Tennessee Department of Correction.

The 71-year-old man was hospitalized on April 29 and died on Thursday at around 11 p.m., department spokeswoman Dorinda Carter wrote in an email.

The man, whom the department is not identifying by name, is the third inmate to die after contracting the virus at the privately run Trousdale Turner Correctional Center. One inmate who contracted the virus at the state-run Bledsoe County Correctional Complex has also died. The Correction Department has said all the men had underlying medical conditions, and it is asking the medical examiner to determine the causes of death in each case.

The two prisons have reported high rates of infection. Two weeks ago, Trousdale reported 1,299 inmates infected by the virus plus two who were hospitalized. Fifty staff also tested positive. The numbers were high enough to give Trousdale County the highest per capita rate of cases in the U.S., according to an Associated Press analysis. On Friday, the prison was reporting that 229 of those inmates had recovered.

At Bledsoe, 585 inmates were reported as recovered on Friday with only two still listed as positive.

Meanwhile, the state was continuing to reopen. The Tennessee Valley Authority announced Thursday that it would reopen six campgrounds and 17 recreation areas by the end of the day Friday. Restrooms, large-group pavilions and playgrounds will remain closed in the recreation areas, and all TVA visitor centers remain closed.

The federal utility is also resuming some recreational releases on the Ocoee River for whitewater rafting and kayaking.

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