Spike in Nevada prison COVID-19 cases draws calls for action
LAS VEGAS — Nevada state health and prison officials are charting a sharp spike in coronavirus case counts among inmates and employees at facilities around the state, amid calls from advocates for more transparency.
Bill Quenga, acting state Department of Corrections spokesman, didn’t immediately respond Monday to messages about a report by the state Health and Human Services that 1,103 people in corrections custody had tested positive for COVID-19.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported the tally of coronavirus cases in prisons had grown from 646 cases on Nov. 20, when officials reported that 424 of 535 inmates at Warm Springs Correctional Center tested positive.
Nevada had almost 13,000 inmates statewide in April.
Quenga told the newspaper the state now has a $10 million contract with Quest Diagnostics to expedite testing in prisons and other state facilities through the end of the month, and the department is now getting test results within three days.
He also promised an update about coronavirus in prisons this week.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada joined prison advocates on Nov. 19 in a call for more action from state officials responding to the pandemic.