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.
NDOC completed a statewide testing initiative in June during which it tested all offenders - approximately 12,368 - for COVID-19. Of those tested, only 18 – or .15% of all offenders – have tested positive for the virus, one of the lowest rates in the nation.
“Nevada’s goal has been to mitigate and prevent the spread of COVID-19
through rigorous testing and the implementation of deliberate and pro-active
protocols,” said Governor Steve Sisolak. “Our state’s testing initiative is the
result of a successful partnership between NDOC, the Department of Health and
Human Services, and the Nevada State Public Health Laboratory to test one of
our state’s most vulnerable populations.”
“The very low number of offenders testing positive is a testament to the
strength of the firewall NDOC established to stop the spread of the virus,”
said Charles Daniels, NDOC Director. “Our custody staff implemented pro-active
procedures to ensure the safety of everyone at our facilities, while our
medical staff worked tirelessly to test offenders and provide appropriate
medical care. This has been a team effort and I could not be prouder.”
response to COVID-19, NDOC has implemented the following protocols:
modified operations that limit travel between facilities and restricted
visitation at all facilities. This
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. Each morning, all employees are being screened for symptoms of the virus, including having their temperature taken. Anyone found with one of the cardinal symptoms (fever of 100 degrees F or greater, shortness of breath, dry cough, chills, muscle pain, new loss of taste or smell) are sent home where they must obtain medical clearance or test negative for COVID-19 before returning to work.
3. All personnel who do enter a secure facility are required to wear a face covering.
4. Testing new arrivals at the intake units at High Desert State Prison and Northern Nevada Correctional Center for COVID-19, and isolating offenders who test positive in negative airflow cells.
5. The dissemination of the latest CDC guidance for staff and offenders, including the Center of Disease Control's Stop the Spread of Germs poster, in highly visible areas.
6. Surface Sanitation Teams, using a 10% bleach concentration, thoroughly clean surfaces at all facilities.
7. Hand soap is readily available at every facility, both in cells and in common areas. NDOC encourages all persons to frequently wash their hands using warm soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
8. Prison Industries is manufacturing hand sanitizer, medical gowns, and face coverings to ensure NDOC staff have access to these critical supplies. PI is also manufacturing alcohol-free hand sanitizer and face coverings for offenders.
9. If an offender is suspected of having an illness, or if they self-report feeling ill, NDOC medical staff immediately assess and place them in that facility's infirmary or medically observes them in their cell. NDOC also alerts Culinary so meals are delivered to the offenders while they're in the infirmary or their cell.
10. NDOC's Medical Director determined that, in the interest of public, staff, and offender safety, all NDOC staff be tested for COVID-19 every two weeks. This robust and mandatory testing initiative started August 3, 2020 and occurs at the facility where the staff member works. The testing schedule is subject to change depending on COVID-19 trends.
Response to COVID-19, NDOC has instituted the following:
offenders receive two free phone
calls to mitigate the impact of the
suspension of visitation and stay connected with families and
friends. Eligible offenders receive a discounted rate for sending
secure instant messaging (not including photos).
Offenders are provided distance
thanks to a partnership between NDOC and Nevada's adult and post-secondary
Distribution of 22,000 face coverings statewide to offenders to reduce the
likelihood of an asymptomatic COVID-19 carrier passing the virus to others.
Face covering distribution was done in conjunction with new security guidelines
that ensure public safety goals are fully met.
NDOC leadership, including Director
Charles Daniels and the deputy directors of industries, operations,
programs, and support services regularly host townhalls to provide
accurate and current information. Wardens host twice-weekly townhalls at their
As a reminder, NDOC does not have
statutory authority to early release offenders.
2020, NDOC added COVID-19 to Medical Directive 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 Medical
Directive 211: Notification of Inmates with Infectious Diseases as new
information about COVID-19 is released by the U.S. Center for Disease
Nevadans, the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) 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. DHHS has also launched a
daily report of the # of positive cases at facilities throughout Nevada,
including NDOC facilities. Please view this
report, which is updated daily, to track the number of
positive cases at NDOC.