NDCS to offer inmates COVID-19 testing opportunity

Posted at 10:44 PM, Jun 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-09 23:45:18-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Men and women housed in the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services (NDCS) will be able to be tested for COVID-19 even if they aren't symptomatic, Director Scott R. Frakes announced Tuesday.

Participation for testing is voluntary and will be conducted in each of the 10 facilities during the coming weeks.

“This is the same test that is currently available in the community,” stated Dir. Frakes. “In keeping with the standard of care available to all Nebraskans through TestNebraska, testing is also available to our inmate population.”

Healthcare workers with NDCS will collect the swabs, which will be processed by the same lab handling TestNebraska results.

“We want inmates to take advantage of the specific days that we have set aside for testing in their facility,” explained Dir. Frakes. “This will allow for a more efficient process. If someone requests testing after that period, they will be medically assessed to determine if testing is necessary, and managed on a case-by-case basis.”

So far, seven inmates have tested positive for COVID-19, all tied to the Community Corrections Center-Omaha. Nineteen staff members throughout the 10 facilities have tested positive.

Dir. Frakes emphasized that more testing won't decrease the safety measures NDCS has put in place during the last several months to prevent the introduction and transmission of coronavirus.

“Those things are just as important, if not more important now. We will continue to screen staff and others entering our facilities, taking temperatures, wearing masks, disinfecting, encouraging universal health precautions, and all of the other proactive processes we implemented early on,” said Dir. Frakes.