Prisoner claims to have COVID-19 and spits, coughs on jail staff

News

SUMNER COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — It’s one of the most despicable acts you can imagine, claiming to have COVID-19 and then spitting or coughing on someone.

Sadly, it’s happening around the country, and 1st responders are seeing it first hand in Middle Tennessee.

The atrocity reportedly happened on April 10th in the Sumner County jail. That’s when a prisoner claiming to have come into contact with COVID-19 deliberately coughed on a nurse and spit on two jailers.

Brittney Collins was busted on a variety of meth, heroin and weapons charges.

While being booked into the Sumner County Jail, the 31-year-old reportedly stated she had been in contact with someone who had tested positive for COVID-19 and aids.

“Our correction’s officers and nursing staff were trying to intake an individual arrested and they were trying to screen her and make sure she was medically cleared to enter the facility and at some point, the inmate didn’t want to go along with the program,” Chief Deputy Aaron Pickard tells News 2.

According to the arrest affidavit, Collins then coughed deliberately in the nurse’s face saying she didn’t want to be seen by the nursing staff. When two corrections officers tried to restrain Collins, they both report being spit on as well.

“In a time like this, everything in this warrant is disgusting, with this virus going on and people trying to stay healthy, and to be spat on while trying to do your job,” said Pickard.

According to the arrest document, after the spitting incident, Collins was placed in a restraint chair and made to wear a face mask.

“That’s right, we have masks here that keep droplets from coming out affectionately known as a ‘spit mask’ and that is what she had to wear,” said Pickard.

Brittney Collins was charged with three additional counts of assault for coughing and spitting on the nurse and two correctional officers.

Thankfully, the jail staff have no shown no symptoms of COVID-19.

Dr. William Schaffner is an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt Medical Center. Schaffner tells News 2 that coughing in close proximity to someone increases the chances of becoming infected.

“That is exactly how this virus is transmitted. If two people are close to each other and someone coughs, then obviously that virus can land on or go into that person as they inhale, and that is the way the virus is easily transmitted from person to person.”

When told of the prisoner’s alleged actions, Schaffner called the act “terrible behavior.”

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