The Nevada Department of Corrections (NDOC)
is working closely with local and state public health officials to prepare for
Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), with the top priority being the health of staff and offenders at our facilities.
The plan of our ongoing public health response is to detect and rapidly contain
introductions of this virus with the goal of delaying and ultimately preventing
sustained spread of COVID-19.
In February 2020, NDOC
added COVID-19 to Administrative Regulation 231: Communicable Diseases,
along with guidance to custody and medical staff for proper procedures for the
housing, transportation, and release due to expiration of sentence or parole of
NDOC offenders with communicable diseases. NDOC has also continuously reviewed Administrative
Regulation 211: Notification of Inmates with Infectious Diseases as new
information about COVID-19 is released by the U.S. Center for Disease
To prepare for COVID-19
and ensure the health and safety of staff and offenders, NDOC has implemented
the following protocols:
1. The suspension of
visitation to all NDOC facilities starting on March 7, 2020, which was taken as
a precautionary measure to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Nevada. Suspended
visitation will be in-place until corrections and medical experts at NDOC,
working alongside local and state government agencies, determine that the
health and safety of staff and offenders are no longer threatened by COVID-19.
2. The dissemination
of emailed information on precautions, symptoms, and the latest CDC guidance
3. The dissemination
of the Center for Disease Control’s Stop the
Spread of Germs poster, in highly visible areas, for staff
4. Surface Sanitation
Teams, using a 10% bleach concentration, are making the rounds
at gate houses, visiting rooms, and intake areas to thoroughly clean surfaces.
5. Screening of incoming and outgoing
staff and contractors at shift changes, and offenders during train-in/out, for
symptoms of the virus that include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing.
6. Hand soap is readily
available at every facility, both in cells and in common areas. Since the
COVID-19 outbreak began, NDOC has encouraged staff and offenders to frequently
wash their hands using warm soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
7. N95 mask fittings for
medical professionals, and increased access to clinical face masks and
non-latex gloves (as appropriate).
Industries is manufacturing hand sanitizer, medical gowns, and protective masks
to ensure NDOC staff have access to these critical supplies.
If an offender is
suspected of having an illness, or if they self-report feeling ill, NDOC
medical staff immediately assess the offender and place them in that facility’s
infirmary or medically observes them in their cell. Medical staff utilize the
appropriate test kits, some of which are provided by the State of Nevada, which
are then tested by the State Epidemiologist, to determine a diagnosis and
treatment. NDOC also alerts Culinary so meals are delivered to the offender while
they’re in the infirmary or their cell.
NDOC is providing eligible offenders two free phone calls per week to mitigate the impact of its
March 7, 2020 suspension of visitation. The free phone calls help offenders stay
connected with families and friends.
NDOC’s commissary teams have been actively
working with their staff and respective institutions to ensure delivery of
COVID-19 originated in
Wuhan, China and has gradually spread among humans since December 2019. The
virus primarily spreads when an infected person coughs or sneezes releasing
droplets which can travel up to 6 feet. Another person can become infected if
these droplets enter their mouth, nose, or eyes directly or through their
contaminated hands. An infected person who coughs or sneezes into their hands and
touches surfaces such as phones, tables, door handles, or toys can contaminate
them. Coronaviruses usually causes mild respiratory illnesses, such as the
common cold. COVID-19 causes more severe illness, and in 2%-3% of cases, death.
To inform Nevadans, the
Nevada Department of Health and Human Services and the Governor's Office have
created a COVID-19 website to share information and
resources as it pertains to the current status of the coronavirus and its
impact within the State of Nevada.