The Community Corrections Center-Lincoln is under quarantine, after four inmates tested positive for COVID-19. All of the positive inmates lived in the same room. Staff members are engaged in contact tracing, to identify any other potential close contacts.
“During quarantine, inmates will have reduced movement across the facility, allowing us to limit any further potential transmission of the virus, while contact tracing is underway,” stated Scott R. Frakes, director of the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services.
Depending on the outcome, parts of the facility may be able to resume normal operations fairly soon.
“The inmates who tested positive live on the men’s side of the facility, but out of an abundance of caution, we are keeping the entire facility on quarantine until the internal contact tracing is complete. For now, this also means restricting furloughs and work opportunities in the community,” said Dir. Frakes.
Last month, the Diagnostic and Evaluation Center as well as the Nebraska State Penitentiary was placed on quarantine status, in order to reduce the spread of the coronavirus and best manage those who were positive and symptomatic. Only a few housing units in each facility remain on quarantine status. The majority of inmates who tested positive, have since recovered. Two units at NSP are on medical isolation status, until the remaining inmates in those areas are cleared.
“Should the need arise, we will continue to place individual housing units or facilities on quarantine. Being able to isolate those who are ill or potentially sick from the rest of the population is key to managing this virus,” said Dir. Frakes.
He acknowledged that the onset of the flu season will likely bring additional challenges. NDCS started offering flu vaccinations to inmates last month.
“Flu symptoms are very similar to those for COVID-19. We regularly encourage inmates to notify staff members as to any health concerns they may have, so those situations can be addressed immediately.”
Dir. Frakes added that for now, visitation and volunteer programs will remain canceled given the current direction of the coronavirus. “It is not only a matter of what is happening within our facilities, but also what is happening in the community. Given the higher level of activity right now, we will keep those programs closed as an added means to keep people safe and healthy.”