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Third state inmate in Omaha tests positive for coronavirus

Third state inmate in Omaha tests positive for coronavirus

A third inmate at the Community Corrections Center-Omaha has tested positive for the coronavirus, officials said Saturday.

The inmate went to the hospital for unrelated medical problems and was tested upon admission, Scott Frakes, director of the Nebraska Department of Corrections, said in a press release.

All three inmates who tested positive were housed at the Omaha facility.

The second inmate to test positive had close contact with the first, who was hospitalized Monday for unrelated health problems and tested there.

Contact tracing will be conducted to identify other people who have had close contact with the latest person who tested positive, the release said.

Ten staff members within the entire department have tested positive. Some have completed their quarantine and returned to work.

The Omaha facility is one of two community custody centers operated by the state.

Community custody is the lowest custody level and the least restrictive facility. Inmates can go to work and attend school and religious services with prior approval and without direct supervision.

The Omaha facility houses 175 inmates.

Among the employers of work-release inmates at the facility are two Omaha meatpacking plants. Coronavirus outbreaks have been reported at several Douglas County food and meat processing plants.

Some advocates and family members of inmates have criticized Corrections for its lack of testing of state inmates and are fearful that the coronavirus could spread within Nebraska’s crowded prisons and jails, similar to outbreaks that have occurred in other states. Earlier this month, three inmates at the Nebraska State Penitentiary became the first in the state to be tested.

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