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Nebraska prisons to question visitors about virus exposure

March 14, 2020 GMT

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Visitors to Nebraska prisons will have to answer questions about their possible exposure to the new coronavirus as part of an effort to keep staff and inmates from getting infected, the state corrections department said Thursday.

The Department of Correctional Services said visitors will still be allowed, as long as they are deemed a low risk. But Director Scott Frakes warned that the policy could change quickly.

“This situation is very much day-to-day and we are prepared to react with an abundance of caution in order to keep those who live and work in our facilities as healthy as possible,” he said.

Visitors, volunteers, contractors and others will be asked to confirm that they are symptom-free, verify if they have had contact with anyone diagnosed with COVID-19 and if they have traveled recently by plane. Visitors who answer “yes” to any of those questions will be denied entry.

Prison officials said they may also take visitors’ temperatures to see if they have a fever.

Most people who get infected with the virus experience moderate symptoms. and the vast majority of people recover. Others, including older adults and people with existing health issues, can become severely sick.

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The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.