Aug 31, 2020 12:56 AM

Nebraska prison quarantined after 29 inmates have virus

Posted Aug 31, 2020 12:56 AM

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - The Nebraska State Penitentiary in Lincoln has been placed under quarantine after 29 inmates tested positive for the coronavirus, officials said Sunday.

The positive cases were identified by tests that were done Friday. Nebraska Department of Correctional Services Director Scott Frakes said the positive cases included inmates in four different housing units, so the entire prison was placed under quarantine.

"We are acting out of an abundance of caution," Frakes said in a news release. "This move will allow us to continue testing the remainder of the population."

Officials said roughly 600 inmates were initially offered tests under the voluntary program, and 332 inmates agreed to be tested. The remaining inmates will be offered tests starting Sunday.

Frakes said most of the inmates who tested positive have not had any symptoms.

Warden Michele Wilhelm said the entire facility will be under quarantine for at least two weeks.

Frakes said prisoner visits will remain on hold across the agency while the penitentiary is in quarantine.

There have also been 64 corrections department employees who have tested positive since the virus outbreak began. Of those, 54 have recovered from the illness.