Coronavirus Screenings of Prison Staff Now System-wide

RALEIGH

The North Carolina Division of Prisons this week enacted staff coronavirus medical screenings that include temperature checks at every prison, in an additional effort to reduce the chances the virus gets into a prison.

“These hardworking men and women in uniforms and medical scrubs report to work before the sun comes up or as the sun sets,” said Todd Ishee, Commissioner of Prisons. 

“Their jobs are very difficult in the best of times, and they have faced these new challenges with inspiring courage. Everyone who works in a prison, and their colleagues in juvenile facilities, are true heroes. They all too often go unnoticed,” he added.

The screening of staff, as well as anyone else authorized to enter a prison, began on March 20 at Central Prison and North Carolina Correctional Institution for Women (NCCIW), both located in Raleigh, and expanded to every prison starting on March 31, after a shipment of no-touch thermometers arrived and were distributed to facilities across the state.

As a result, entry to any prison will be denied to anyone with a temperature of 100 degrees or more, who is experiencing respiratory symptoms of cough or shortness of breath, or fatigue and muscle aches indicative of a viral infection, or who has been exposed in the past 14 days to anyone who is suspected or diagnosed with COVID-19.

These medical screenings also will include questions asked by designated staff at prison entrances. The screenings will be done before anyone goes through the security screening process. 

Visitation and volunteer visits to the prisons were suspended on March 13, and a series of other actions were subsequently taken. A list can be found at
https://www.ncdps.gov/our-organization/emergency-management/past-disasters/dps-actions-covid-19#prisons.

“We are working hard to be proactive and to take every reasonable step to maintain the health and safety of the staff and the offenders,” said Ishee. “I am so proud of the staff for their hard work and dedication in the face of these challenges. We are a team with a mission that has grown tougher by the day in recent weeks. I have no doubt the staff is up to the task. I am proud of them.”

For more information on coronavirus, and the state’s response to the disease, please go to https://www.ncdhhs.gov/divisions/public-health/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19-response-north-carolina.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control has a COVID-19 information page at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html, including situation reports, frequently asked questions, and targeted information for particular audiences.
 

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