Cobb authorities are prosecuting a man accused of falsely claiming he had the new coronavirus while being booked into the county jail on unrelated obstruction and battery charges, records show.
Ronald Nathaniel Steward, 29, of Cumming in Forsyth County, is in custody without bond at the Cobb jail, facing felony charges of making false statements and terroristic threats in relation to the COVID-19 hoax.
Per an April 12 arrest warrant obtained by Cobb sheriff’s deputies, Steward was being booked into the county jail around 10:30 a.m. on April 11, when he declared he had tested positive for the highly infectious virus.
“Sgt. Clemmer spoke to the said accused who advised he had tested positive for COVID-19 at Northside Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia,” the warrant states. “Accused signed an authorization for treatment and release of medical information. Nurse Sweet made contact with Northside Hospital to follow up with the said accused alleged medical condition, the said accused was never tested nor treated for COVID-19 at Northside Hospital.”
Steward was admitted to a single-person cell, isolated from other inmates and quarantined for two weeks, per the warrant.
“After Nurse Sweet confirmed the said accused had not tested positive for COVID-19, the said accused still had to be moved to the infirmary, placed into a negative pressure room and quarantined for a 14-day period,” the warrant states. “Staff was required to use protective equipment (mask, gloves and disposable scrubs).”
Steward was apprehended by Smyrna police in November 2019, when he drunkenly hit a policewoman in the face while in custody at the city jail, according to his arrest warrant from the time.
In relation to that incident, Steward faces a felony obstruction charge as well as a misdemeanor count of battery/visible harm, and is subject to a $3,000 bond order, records show.
On the false statement and terroristic threat charges, Steward is denied bond.