Marion County's jail has 28 confirmed COVID-19 cases since first cases discovered last week

File photo by Ryan Lewis / The Marion County Justice Center is in Jasper, Tenn.

At least 28 inmates at the jail in Marion County, Tennessee, have been confirmed to have coronavirus infections after an inmate transferred to state custody last week tested positive and officials discovered an outbreak had started.

"We had the health department in Monday - we had three or four test positive last week - and so far we've got 28 cases," Marion County Sheriff Ronnie "Bo" Burnett said Wednesday.

Results started coming in Tuesday after at least 80 inmates were tested, he said.

It was a surprising blow.

"We went 15 months and didn't have an inmate case," Burnett said.

Infected inmates have shown some symptoms - fever, chills and general discomfort - but Burnett said none have required hospitalization.

Activities such as jail religious services and litter pickup have been suspended as the facility weathers the outbreak.

"We