Bledsoe prison is warping Covid-19 case stats for the county

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PIKEVILLE, Tennessee (WDEF) – The Mayor of Bledsoe County says a bureaucratic change in how Tennessee is counting COVID-19 cases is bad for his community.

Gregg Ridley says his county’s numbers jumped from 11 to 585 by Friday.

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The new numbers reflect the cases from the Bledsoe County Regional Facility on top of the Cumberland Plateau.

The state has had a major outbreak at their prison on the mountain.

It holds more than 2500 inmates plus staff in the three facilities.

The Department of Corrections is testing about all of them, with 576 coming back positive.

All of the other state prisons have less than a hundred cases combined.

The community has been concerned about the outbreak in their backyard for weeks.

But this week, it hit them full on when state officials decided to lump the prison numbers in with the local ones.

So according to the state stat map, Bledsoe County now has the third highest Covid-19 case count in the state, ahead of both Chattanooga and Knoxville.

Bledsoe County in Red

Residents have been worried about a spillover into their community.

So the state is offering drive thru testing on Saturday morning.

When: Saturday, April 25th

9 AM – 12 PM CDT

Where: Bledsoe County High School

877 Main Street, Pikeville, TN