NDCS inmates positive for COVID-19

NDCS inmates positive for COVID-19



CONTACT Laura Strimple, Chief of Staff

OFFICE 402-479-5713 | laura.strimple@nebraska.gov


NDCS inmates positive for COVID-19


September 4, 2020 (Lincoln, Neb.) – Thirty-four inmates have tested positive for COVID-19 at the Nebraska State Penitentiary (NSP) since testing at that facility began one week ago. That number includes one individual who was tested upon being admitted to a Lincoln hospital for diagnosis of a separate medical issue. That person remains hospitalized.

Testing started at the facility on August 28 in four housing units.  It was expanded when the entire penitentiary was placed on quarantine.

“More than 600 individuals agreed to be tested across the facility,” said Scott R. Frakes, director of the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services (NDCS). “We continue to wait on results for a couple of individuals who were re-tested as well as those who are preparing for discharge or who have an upcoming parole hearing.”

Dir. Frakes added that testing will be offered again to inmates next Tuesday. “As the testing is voluntary, it will give those who refused the first time another opportunity to be tested, even if they are not presenting any symptoms.” 

Those who test positive for COVID-19 are housed separately from the rest of the population. In addition, movement of inmates is restricted to limit spread of the virus and cleaning of common use areas, including bathrooms, is performed frequently.

“Our vigilance has not dropped since the situation involving the first inmate was detected,” said Dir. Frakes. “That will continue to be the case until the quarantine is lifted.”

Separately, 13 inmates are positive for COVID-19 at the Diagnostic and Evaluation Center (DEC).

“It appears this situation was touched off by one person who had mentioned to others he was experiencing symptoms. But, when staff members followed up and questioned him, he denied it,” explained Dir. Frakes. ”He was isolated as a precaution and after undergoing testing, turned out to be positive.”

Agency-wide, 57 inmates living in NDCS facilities have tested positive since the onset of the coronavirus. Three inmates housed in Phelps County also tested positive last month.