NDOC COVID-19 Updates

Revisions of the NDOC COVID-19 protocol to reflect the latest changes in our response and trends of COVID-19 in Nevada.
Please contact the medical director with any questions.

All visitors/staff to all NDOC facilities will be screened with the following COVID-19 screening questions and receive temperature monitoring prior to being allowed entry:

1) Have you or any household members experienced any of the following symptoms in the past 48 hours? Fever or chills? Cough? Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing? Muscle or body aches? Headache? New loss of taste or smell? Sore throat? Congestion or runny nose? Nausea or vomiting? Diarrhea?

2) Within the past 14 days, have you been in close physical contact (6 feet or closer for at least 15 minutes) with a person who is known to have a confirmed case of COVID-19 or with anyone who has any symptoms consistent with COVID-19?

3) Are you isolating or quarantining because you may have been exposed to a person with COVID-19 or are worried that you may be sick with COVID-19?

4) Are any of your household members currently awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test?

The date, time, name of the individual being screened and answers to questions will be recorded in a logbook maintained by each facility's Emergency Operation Center. If a guest/employee answers "yes" to either question #1 and/or #3 and/or if they have a temperature reading of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or above, they will be asked to leave and follow up with their primary care provider and will need to quarantine per the protocol below. If a guest/employee answers "yes" to either question #2 and/or #4 and the guest/employee or their household member is SYMPTOMATIC ( Fever or chills, Cough, Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, Muscle or body aches, Headache, New loss of taste or smell, Sore throat, Congestion or runny nose, Nausea or vomiting, Diarrhea) then the guest/employee will be tested for COVID-19 immediately and afterwards will need to return home and quarantine per the protocol below.

PLEASE NOTE THAT QUESTION #2 DOES NOT APPLY TO WSCC AT THIS TIME.

IF YOU ARE IN DOUBT PLEASE PREVENT THE GUEST/EMPLOYEE FROM ENTERING THE FACILITY AND CALL ME IMMEDIATELY FOR GUIDANCE.

In addition, NDOC employees may be evaluated by a facility medical provider depending on the severity of their clinical symptoms.

Every attempt will be made to limit visitors to NDOC facilities to prevent the spread of COVID-19. For instance, legal visits will be arranged via teleconference whenever possible and medical visits for offenders will only occur for emergencies or emergent medical needs. It is strongly encouraged for all Nevadans to download and utilize the Nevada Health Response COVID trace application on their smart phone. The application will help Nevadans protect each other and slow the spread by notifying you if you've likely been exposed to COVID-19. The application will empower you to quarantine effectively, seek timely medical attention, and reduce risk for your loved ones.


CONTRACTORS TO NDOC:

No contractors will be allowed to enter the facilities unless there is an emergent need approved by the facility Warden. All contractors prior to entering NDOC facilities will be required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result to medical and custody staff. Results must be within 7 days prior to their visit. Visitors will not be allowed entry if they answer "yes" to any of the above four COVID-19 screening questions or if they do not possess a negative COVID-19 test result. Medical Staff will then notify the facility Warden for final approval prior to entry.

NDOC EMPLOYEES AND CONTRACTORS MASK REQUIREMENT:

Supervisors are required to ensure that all NDOC employees and contractors always wear face masks while on NDOC property while maintaining social distancing of at least 6 feet from others.

All NDOC employees and contractors must always wear face masks while on NDOC property while maintaining social distancing of at least 6 feet from others.

Exceptions to the mask requirement are while eating or if your workspace is an enclosed office (meaning you are the only one who occupies the office) with a door. If your workspace is in any open area (cubicles) and/or shared with others, all individuals in the workspace must always wear a face mask even if individuals are able to maintain more than 6 feet of social distancing.

Employees must also wear face masks in any area where a congregation of individuals is possible (e.g. water cooler, copy machine, hallway). Break times will be staggered to prevent the congregation of individuals so that 6 feet of social distancing is always maintained.


NDOC EMPLOYEES WHO DEVELOP COVID-19 LIKE SYMPTOMS WHILE AT WORK:

NDOC employees who develop any of the following symptoms: fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea will be asked to notify their supervisor and go home to quarantine for a full 14 days from the time of their most recent exposure even if their COVID-19 test result is negative. NDOC employees may be evaluated by a facility medical provider depending on the severity of their clinical symptoms and may be referred to a higher level of care if clinically indicated.

NDOC employees may be tested for COVID-19 by NDOC medical staff prior to being sent home. The quarantine time is a minimum of 14 days with at least 72 hours free of any symptoms prior to the employee being allowed to return to work. Employees may return to work after 14 days of self-quarantine only if they are asymptomatic. The decision to clear an employee to return to work is ultimately a clinical decision made by an NDOC medical provider from the employee's facility and the medical director. Medical staff must notify the facility warden of the decision to return an employee to work.


NDOC EMPLOYEES WHO ARE FOUND TO BE POSITIVE FOR COVID-19:

NDOC employees who are found to be positive for COVID-19 will be notified of their results if the test was performed by the NDOC. Employees who have received positive COVID-19 results from the community are required to report results to their immediate supervisor and the Emergency Operations Center at their facility. The Emergency Operations Center will report positive COVID-19 employee results to the Director of Nursing at their respective facility and the Disease Control Specialist. If the employee is working at the time their positive COVID-19 result is received, they will be asked to return home and remain in isolation. Contact tracing of any exposed employees who spent 15 or more cumulative minutes with the COVID-19 positive employee will be performed. All exposed employees who spent 15 minutes or more within 6 feet of the COVID-19 positive employee will be tested for COVID-19 seven days after their last exposure or sooner if they are symptomatic. Asymptomatic exposed employees may return to work if they are always wearing a mask. NDOC employees who are found to be positive for COVID-19 may be evaluated by a facility medical provider if they are symptomatic and may be transferred to a higher level of care if indicated. The isolation time is a minimum of 10 days with at least 72 hours free of any symptoms before the employee may return to work. A negative COVID-19 test will not be required for an employee to return to work if they have completed a minimum of 10 days of isolation with at least 72 hours free of any symptoms prior to returning to work but is ultimately at the discretion of the medical director. The decision to clear an employee to return to work after testing positive for COVID-19 and possible COVID-19 retesting is ultimately a clinical decision made by an NDOC medical provider from the employee's facility and the medical director. Medical staff must notify the facility warden of the decision to return to work.


NDOC OFFENDERS WHO DEVELOP COVID-19 LIKE SYMPTOMS:

All NDOC offenders are screened for COVID-19 like symptoms on a regular basis and are tested when clinically indicated. Any NDOC offenders who display any flu like symptoms will be immediately tested for COVID-19 and treated as though they are positive and isolated. NDOC offenders at all facilities are offered hand sanitizer and cleaning products at request. In addition, all common areas frequented by offenders are sanitized at a minimum of every 2 hours and as needed. These offenders will be regularly screened by nursing staff with vital sign measurement and clinical assessment. NDOC offenders will be evaluated by a facility medical provider if they are symptomatic and may be transferred to a negative airflow cell if available and/or a higher level of care if indicated. NDOC offenders will be evaluated by a facility medical provider if symptomatic or if clinically indicated and may be transferred with a Warden's approval to a higher level of care.


NDOC OFFENDERS WHO TEST POSITIVE FOR COVID-19:

All NDOC offenders who test positive for COVID-19 will be immediately evaluated by facility medical staff and isolated from all other offenders. Medical or custody staff who expect to have at least 15 minutes of cumulative contact within 6 feet of COVID-19 positive inmates will wear full personal protective equipment (N95 mask, gown, face shield, protective foot coverings) during any contact. Isolation in a negative airflow cell will be arranged if available and the offender may be transported offsite to a higher level of care if clinically indicated. Any offenders who have had a minimum of 15 minutes of contact within 6 feet of a COVID-19 positive offender will be tested for COVID-19 and isolated from other inmates. Offenders who have tested positive for COVID-19 will be isolated for a minimum of 14 days with at least 72 hours free of any symptoms and will require 2 negative COVID-19 tests at least 48 hours apart and be symptom free before they can return to general population.


NDOC OFFENDER TRANSFERS AND PROTOCOLS:

Offender transfers between NDOC facilities do not require a quarantine period if the offender has tested negative for COVID-19 during their facility's last cycle of testing and the offender is asymptomatic. However, it is ultimately at the discretion of the facility medical provider to decide regarding additional COVID-19 testing prior to interfacility transfers. Overnight layovers of offenders at any institution must not take place in quarantine areas.

Any transfer of offenders with flu like symptoms (irrespective of COVID-19 test results or pending test results) will require approval from both the facility Warden and medical staff.

Offenders who have been housed outside of the NDOC for greater than 24 hours transferring into NDOC facilities will require a minimum 14-day quarantine and a COVID-19 swab test on day 7 after their transfer or sooner if they develop any symptoms. For the offender to return to general population they will require a minimum 14-day quarantine with 72 hours free of symptoms with a negative COVID-19 test result. Please note that some outside community medical facilities will require a negative COVID-19 test result prior to accepting the inmate for care.

Offenders who are transferring back into the NDOC after leaving for less than 24 hours will need to be quarantined for a minimum of 14 days and remain free of any symptoms for 72 hours prior to transfer to general population. New offender intakes from local jails will require a minimum 14 days of quarantine and 72 hours free of symptoms while remaining separated from general population offenders and will be tested for COVID-19 immediately upon intake at the NDOC. No offenders will be transferred from intake to general population unless they have completed a 14-day quarantine and remain free of symptoms for at least 72 hours and obtain a negative COVID-19 test result.


NDOC STAFF TRANSFERS:

Unless otherwise notified by the NDOC Medical Director, NDOC staff who have been transferred to another NDOC facility with an elevated number of COVID-19 positive staff and/or inmates shall be required to quarantine for a full 14 days and remain asymptomatic for at least 72 hours prior to returning to work at their home facility.


NOTIFICATION LIST:

Each facility's Emergency Operation Center will be responsible for maintaining and updating a COVID-19 notification list of staff and inmates daily.



These protocols are subject to change. Please contact the medical director with any questions.

Please note that these guidelines are agency specific and DO NOT mirror the current CDC guidelines. This is due to the fact that our inmates are a vulnerable population and we are a public safety agency with limited staff. Therefore our margin of error is much less than the community's.

Important differences include the fact that we are still testing asymptomatic contacts of

COVID-19 positive individuals AND we require at least 72 hours free of any symptoms before ending a quarantine period AND we require all NDOC staff household contacts test negative before a COVID-19 positive employee may return to work. Also I have added the requirement of TWO negative COVID-19 test results (and no symptoms) before COVID-19 positive inmates may return to general population as an extra safety measure.

As a refresher COVID-19 symptoms include the following: fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea.

If an inmate/NDOC staff member has symptoms of COVID-19 (fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty

breathing, fatigue, muscle aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea) they may be swabbed for COVID-19 and sent home/quarantined. The quarantine time is a minimum of 10 days with at least 72 hours free of any symptoms. Please contact me with any complex inmate scenarios.

If an NDOC staff member tests positive for COVID-19 they will be sent home for at least 10 days with at least 72 hours free of any symptoms. Prior to return to work they will require ONE negative COVID-19 test result and no symptoms for at least 72 hours and all household contacts must be negative for COVID-19.

If an inmate tests positive for COVID-19 they will be quarantined (negative airflow room if symptomatic) for 10 days with at least 72 hours free of any symptoms. Prior to return to general population they will require TWO negative COVID-19 test results (at least 48 hours apart) and no symptoms.

Direct NDOC staff contacts of COVID-19 positive individuals will be tested for COVID-19 at day 7 after contact (or when they develop symptoms if before day 7). Note that direct staff contacts of COVID-19 positive individuals will be tested for COVID-19 regardless of the development of symptoms. Direct NDOC staff contacts may remain at work as long as they are asymptomatic and wear a mask at all times during work. Direct NDOC staff contacts that develop symptoms should be tested for COVID-19 at the time they develop symptoms and be sent home for quarantine. The quarantine time is a minimum of 10 days with at least 72 hours free of any symptoms.

Inmate transfers between NDOC facilities do not require a quarantine period as long as the inmate has tested NEGATIVE for COVID-19 during their facility's last cycle of testing and the inmate is ASYMPTOMATIC. Overnight layovers of inmates at any institution must not take place in quarantine areas.

Inmates who have been housed outside of the NDOC for greater than 24 hours transferring into NDOC facilities will require at least a 10 day quarantine and a COVID-19 swab test on day 7 after their transfer. In order for the inmate to return to general population they will require at least a 10 day quarantine with 72 hours free of symptoms OR a negative COVID-19 test result without symptoms. Please note that some medical facilities will require a negative COVID-19 test result prior to accepting the inmate for care.

Inmates who are transferring back into the NDOC after leaving for less than 24 hours will need to be evaluated by a medical provider to determine the necessity of a quarantine period and length of time.

New inmate intakes from local jails that have tested positive for COVID-19 and have completed at least 10 days of quarantine and 72 hours free of symptoms will be tested upon NDOC intake for COVID-19 and are considered PENDING results (NOT POSITIVE) until NDOC results return.

It is encouraged that all NDOC staff get a seasonal flu shot as they are readily available at all pharmacies at this time.

Please note that these guidelines are subject to change based on the progression of COVID-19 in the state of Nevada. Also it is impossible to outline every scenario that may occur. Please contact the medical director for clinical guidance if needed.

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.  

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.”

In response to COVID-19, NDOC has implemented the following protocols: 

    1. Running 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.

 

In Response to COVID-19, NDOC has instituted the following:

Eligible offenders receive two free phone callsDocument is compliant. Select if any issues - 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 learning educationDocument is compliant. Select if any issues - distance learning education thanks to a partnership between NDOC and Nevada's adult and post-secondary education providers.

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 facilities.

As a reminder, NDOC does not have statutory authority to early release offenders.

In February 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 Control. 

To inform 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.