Mass testing at N.C. prison reveals 30 more COVID-19 cases
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Mass COVID-19 testing at a second North Carolina state prison has turned up more than 30 additional positive cases of the new coronavirus, the Department of Public Safety said Monday.
The prisoners, all labeled as being without symptoms, were among more than 400 offenders tested last Friday at Caswell Correctional Center by the Division of Prisons. Another 374 prisoners there tested negative for the virus that causes COVID-19.
Division leaders performed the mass testing because of a gradual increase in positive tests among Caswell inmates and staff since April. Now 43 offenders at Caswell have active COVID-19 cases, according to a department news release.
“Our mitigation and containment strategies appeared to have been effective at reducing the spread of this awful virus,” Commissioner of Prisons Todd Ishee said.
Mass testing within Neuse Correctional Institution in Goldsboro in April uncovered well over 400 cases. All of the offenders who tested positive are deemed recovered, based on federal and state health guidance. Both Caswell and Neuse, with a capacity for almost 800 inmates, are dormitory-style prisons.
North Carolina health officials on Monday reported more than 29,200 positive cases statewide since the pandemic began, with almost 900 deaths and 650 patients hospitalized. More than 420,000 tests have been completed, according to data from the Department of Health and Human Services. Close to 19,000 patients who have tested positive are presumed recovered.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. But for others, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, the highly contagious virus can cause severe symptoms and be fatal.