Nebraska State Penitentiary housing units under quarantine
Testing done on Friday revealed 29 inmates in four housing units were positive for COVID-19.
August 30, 2020 (Lincoln, Neb.) – All housing units at the Nebraska State Penitentiary (NSP) are under quarantine, in order to ensure the health and well-being of those who live and work inside the facility.
Director of the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services (NDCS) Scott R. Frakes said that testing done on Friday revealed 29 inmates in four housing units were positive for COVID-19. Due to the potential close contact some of those inmates may have had with individuals in other housing units, the entire facility has been placed under quarantine.
“We are acting out of an abundance of caution,” noted Dir. Frakes. “This move will allow us to continue testing the remainder of the population.”
Testing is voluntary. Of approximately 600 inmates initially offered tests, 332 agreed to be tested. Tests will be offered to the remaining inmates at NSP starting Sunday, August 30.
“We are hoping for the same quick turnaround in results that we experienced the first time,” said Dir. Frakes. “If so, we can immediately isolate those who are positive from the rest of the population, thereby reducing transmission.”
NSP Warden Michele Wilhelm said the entire facility will be under quarantine for at least two weeks. “During that time we will monitor the status of those who are sick and continue testing any others who request it.”
“The majority of people who tested positive have been asymptomatic,” noted Dir. Frakes. “Hopefully, that translates to a quick recovery and we can resume normal operations at the penitentiary as soon as possible.”
While NSP is in quarantine, Dir. Frakes said the inmate visitation program would remain closed, across the agency. “We had planned to discuss reopening of visits and volunteer programs this coming week. It is obvious we made the right decision to shut down those activities when we did. With the current situation at NSP, and seeing the elevated number of cases in both Lancaster and Douglas Counties, it is best to postpone reopening of those programs for now.”