Stomach-virus type symptoms affecting more than half the jail population has prompted officials to lock down the detention center in Henderson.
Henderson County Jailer Amy Brady told The Gleaner Saturday that approximately 250 inmates have come down with stomach and gastrointestinal illnesses this weekend.
"(Inmates) have been tested for flu and C. diff (Clostridioides difficile), and other major infectious diseases. Those tests came back negative so they've been ruled out," Brady said.
The City of Henderson water department tested the jail's water and nothing was detected which could cause illness, she said.
The Green River Area Health Department has been notified.
"They have us disinfecting the jail with a bleach and water solution," Brady said.
"We are taking major precautionary measures and disinfecting the facility according to the guidelines provided through the state. The masks and gloves (being worn by staff) are an additional precaution.
"The jail is a small city and this is no different than a virus making its way through a school," she said. "The exception is schools can cancel classes. We can't cancel a court order and send people home until this passes."
Brady said the decision to lock-down the jail was complicated due to a lightning strike during one of the storms early Saturday morning which took out the main phone system. As of almost 10 p.m. the phone system was still out, but Spectrum was working to fix the problem.
However, Brady said the phones in the inmates' cells are still working because they don't run on the same system as the main jail lines.
The jailer said while many inmates are sick, "We have a local doctor, and he's on top of the situation."