LINCOLN, Neb. (KCAU) – Nebraska Department of Correctional Services (NDCS) Director Scott R. Frakes announced that a staff member has tested positive for COVID-19.
The staff member works at the Nebraska State Penitentiary (NSP) and has been isolated at home for the last 10 days.
NDCS said this is the first confirmed case of COVID-19 to be diagnosed among any inmates or staff members.
Officials said no other individual who has been in contact with the staff member have shown symptoms that are consistent with the virus.
This case has been reported to the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department.
On Friday, NDCS staff members started to wear masks within all of the prison facilities and buildings, including Central Office, where most of the agency’s administrative team members work.
The masks are orange and made from polyester/cotton blend. They’re being manufactured by Cornhuskers State Industries.
The distribution of the maks will continue through Sunday.
“Based on community spread and the increased availability of testing, we’ve been preparing for the scenario in which staff members or inmates tested positive for COVID-19,” said Dir. Frakes. “Having staff members in protective masks will help reduce the transmission of the illness through airborne droplets.”
NCDS mentions the staff members have also been undergoing an entry screening process by answering a series of questions to assess their potential exposure to COVID-19.
The agency is awaiting a shipment of thermometers that will be used to detect fever in staff members who arrive for work.
“The agency placed an initial order for thermometers several weeks ago which was stolen during delivery. It is expected that the second shipment will arrive soon,” noted Dir. Frakes. “Again, the masks are a way to prevent others from catching what you might already be carrying. We will continue to make decisions as circumstances evolve and in the best interest of the safety of those who work live and work in our facilities.”