All Neuse Correctional offenders to be tested after COVID-19 cases balloon to approximately 80


GOLDSBORO, N.C. (WNCN) – All 700 prisoners at the Neuse Correctional Institution in Wayne County will be tested for coronavirus, according to a news release from the North Carolina Department of Public Safety.

Staff will be able to take a voluntary test on Friday, the release said.

Approximately eight offenders have tested positive for COVID-19 as of Thursday. Additional results from the Wednesday round of tests are still pending. Most were asymptomatic, the release said.

That number is almost quadruple the 21 positive cases the Wayne County Health Department reported on Monday.

The 300 offenders tested Wednesday were housed in dorms that are currently quarantined because 30 offenders in the housing areas had previously tested positive for COVID-19. The release said this week’s test results will “guide the enactment of contingency plans designed to prevent further spread of the virus.”

“Our top priority is everyone’s health and safety,” Commissioner of Prisons Todd Ishee said. “We now have better intelligence on the extent of the problem we are facing at Neuse. Working with local and state health officials, we will do everything we can to stop this virus here and now, so it doesn’t continue to spread.”

The Division of Prisons said it has taken more than three dozen preventative actions for COVID-19 that include providing extra soap and disinfecting supplies, instituting a two-week moratorium on accepting offenders from county jails, and reduced offender transfers between prisons and suspended work release.

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