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This story was updated at 5:24 p.m. on Monday, April 27, 2020, with more information.

A federal inmate at the Hamilton County Jail has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, Hamilton County Sheriff's Office officials confirmed.

About 25 people, both inmates and staff, have now been tested. The sheriff's office was notified on Monday by Erlanger hospital that an inmate, who had been transferred from COVID-19 hotspot Bledsoe County Correctional Complex earlier this month, had tested positive for COVID-19, sheriff's office spokesman Matt Lea said.

He did not say how many of the tests took place before or after the positive case was discovered.

Lea said that jail personnel are tracking all inmates and personnel who may have come into contact with the inmate, though he did not clarify how many of those contacts have already been tested.

People who came into contact with the inmate who tested positive will be quarantined for 14 days, per jail guidelines.

Lea said that, at the time of the transfer on April 14, the inmate was asymptomatic, meaning he presented no signs of the virus.

Earlier this month, at least two nurses and a doctor left their jobs at the Bledsoe County prison, west of Pikeville, Tennessee, after they were told they couldn't wear protective masks while working inside.

That followed an April 1 state correction department news release that reported three inmates at the prison in Bledsoe, which houses more than 2,500 inmates, were possibly exposed to a non-state employee who tested positive for COVID-19.

By mid-April, 19 staffers and contract workers tested positive for the coronavirus, and the state began testing inmates the following week.

Now, over 500 inmates have tested positive for the virus, making Bledsoe County one of the counties with the highest number of cases per resident across the country, according to data compiled by The New York Times.

Nevertheless, "Sheriff Jim Hammond would like to reassure the public and those who may have family or friends incarcerated in the jail that our personnel are maintaining extraordinary measures to routinely sanitize the facility," Lea said.

Lea was unable to verify why the inmate was transferred to the Hamilton County Jail amid the Bledsoe prison's outbreak or whether other inmates had been transferred.

Hamilton County Jail officials have insisted they have the ability to contain an outbreak.

Armed with a containment plan they say was devised after consulting with the Hamilton County Health Department officials and Erlanger health personnel, jail officials have reiterated their ability to "humanely quarantine inmates should the need arise to isolate infected inmates from the general population."

Contact Rosana Hughes at rhughes@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6327 with tips or story ideas. Follow her on Twitter @Hughes Rosana.

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