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High Desert State Prison inmate tests positive for COVID-19

High Desert State Prison.jpg
Posted at 2:19 PM, May 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-21 00:49:34-04

A prisoner at High Desert State Prison in Indian Springs has tested positive for COVID-19.

According to the latest information posted by the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services, one prisoner and four employees have tested positive.

The Nevada Department of Corrections sent the following to 13 Action News:

“Our top priority is the health of staff and offenders at our facilities,” said Charles Daniels, NDOC Director. “Our response is deliberate and in accordance with agency contingency plans and protocols. Now that we have a confirmed offender case, our next goal is mitigating and preventing the spread of the virus.”

The male offender arrived at HDSP from Clark County Detention Center on April 22, 2020. He entered HDSP’s intake unit where recently arrived offenders undergo health, mental, and physical screening.

The positive test result occurred on May 18 when he was taken to a local hospital for unrelated medical care, as he was asymptomatic for COVID-19 symptoms. NDOC’s standard operations for intake requires all offenders be in isolation for a minimum of 20 days.

This timeframe allows medical staff to ensure the health assessment takes into account the generally accepted 14-day incubation period for COVID-19 symptoms to present.

As the offender was still in the intake unit, no offenders in HDSP’s general population were exposed.

NDOC is working with the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services and the Nevada State Public Health Laboratory on a comprehensive testing plan for offenders at all NDOC facilities.

This plan, which is being finalized and will be implemented soon, aligns with the State's goal to increase testing statewide and protect vulnerable populations. In addition to the comprehensive testing plan, NDOC has implemented the following protocols at HDSP to contain the virus thus far:

-- The facility’s intake unit is currently in modified operations.
-- The offender’s cellmate was moved into medical isolation in a negative airflow room in the infirmary.

For the state of Nevada, there are 19 confirmed cases in its various correctional facilities, including Casa Grande Prison, Ely State Prison, Florence McClure Women’s Correction Center, High Desert, Indian Springs Southern Training Center and Southern Desert Correctional.


Eighteen of those are employees. Fifteen of those who have tested positive have recovered.

So far, no deaths have been reported related to correctional facilities.