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NDOC COVID-19 testing expanded after Carson City prisoner tests positive

Nevada Appeal staff report
A NDOC nurse tests an offender for COVID-19 under the watchful eye of a correctional officer.
Courtesy

The Nevada Department of Corrections has expanded its COVID-19 testing initiative to facilities in Northern Nevada after confirming its first case of an offender testing positive, according to a NDOC news release.

The male offender who tested positive was a transfer from Washoe County Detention Center in Reno to Northern Nevada Correctional Center in Carson City.

He entered NNCC’s intake unit May 27 and was undergoing health, mental, and physical screening. This included a test for COVID-19 as part of NDOC’s testing initiative, which subsequently came back positive.

NDOC’s standard operations for intake requires all offenders be in isolation for a minimum of 20 days. This timeframe allows medical staff to ensure the health assessment takes into account the generally accepted 14-day incubation period for COVID-19 symptoms to present. As the offender was still in the intake unit, no offenders in NNCC’s general population were exposed.

“Our top priority is the health of staff and offenders at our facilities,” Charles Daniels, NDOC director, said in the release. “Our preparation and response is deliberate and in accordance with agency contingency plans and protocols. Our goal is mitigating and ultimately preventing the sustained spread of COVID-19.”

To date, NDOC has tested more than 800 staff and 6,700 offenders statewide. Testing has begun at facilities in Northern Nevada such as Lovelock Correctional Center and Northern Nevada Correctional Center in Carson City.

The initiative is a partnership between NDOC, the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services, and the Nevada State Public Health Laboratory.

In addition to the testing plan, NDOC has implemented the following protocols at NNCC to contain the virus thus far:

 The facility’s intake unit is currently in modified operations.

 Staff who may have come in contact with the offender have been released from duty to begin quarantine. They will return to work only after testing negative for COVID-19 and receiving approval from NDOC’s medical director.

 Staff who currently work in the intake unit have been issued full personal protective equipment, to include booties, gloves, and N-95 masks.

 The Warden and his executive team continue regularly scheduled town halls to update staff and offenders on the developing situation and the department’s pro-active response.

 All offenders housed in the affected housing unit have been tested for COVID-19 with test results pending.

NDOC will continue to monitor the situation at all facilities.