OMAHA, NE — The director of Nebraska's Correctional Services announced Tuesday night that an inmate at the Correctional Center in Omaha has tested positive for COVID-19. As a result, the entire facility is currently under quarantine.
The statement said the inmate was hospitalized for other health issues and was tested for coronavirus. The test came back positive.
Below is the entire statement from the NDCS:
May 12, 2020 (Lincoln, Neb.) – Today, Director Scott R. Frakes announced that an inmate assigned to the Community Corrections Center-Omaha (CCC-O) tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19). As a result, the entire facility is under quarantine while identification is made of the person’s close contacts.
“The individual was hospitalized yesterday for unrelated health issues and was tested upon admission. The facility received notice of the test result today,” explained Director Scott R. Frakes, Nebraska Department of Correctional Services (NDCS).
During quarantine, inmates will be confined to their rooms and will not be able to participate in work detail or work release jobs until they are medically cleared to do so.
“We have been preparing for this situation for the past two months and are well prepared to manage this situation,” said CCC-O Warden Ryan Mahr.
“It was never a matter of if this would happen, but when,” noted Dir. Frakes. “Putting the facility under quarantine is the smartest move we can make. We want to be completely thorough in determining who had close contact with this single inmate.”
Staff members determined to have close contact with the affected individual will be required to quarantine. Inmates determined to have close contact will remain on quarantine status until cleared by medical staff. Director Frakes said he did not know how long the facility would remain under its current status.
“We are taking a very careful and methodical approach to investigating all positive COVID-19 cases, and this one is no different. It is how we will continue to ensure the well-being of everyone who works and lives in our facilities.”
This is the first case of an inmate in NDCS testing positive for COVID-19. Three inmates at the Nebraska State Penitentiary (NSP) recently tested negative. Eight staff members with the agency have tested positive.
One hundred and seventy-five inmates live at CCC-O and 35 staff members are employed at the facility.
CCC-O is one of two community custody facilities operated by NDCS. Community custody is the lowest custody level and the least restrictive facility. Inmates can participate in work opportunities, attend school and religious services with prior approval and without direct supervision.