More Nebraska prison employees test positive for COVID-19

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — More employees in Nebraska’s prison system have tested positive for COVID-19, as state health figures show the overall number of cases in the state surpassing 15,000.

A news release Friday from the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services said two more state prisons employees tested positive this week for the virus, bringing the systemwide total to 18.

One of the two new cases is a staff member at the state prison at Tecumseh. The second was attending a staff training academy. The department said it will notify others at both locations about the new cases. Department officials also are directing anyone who may have had close contact with the infected staff members to self-quarantine until they are cleared by a medical provider.

Nebraska’s online coronavirus tracking portal shows an additional 251 new cases of the virus reported Thursday, bringing the state’s total to 15,117. State numbers show 186 total deaths from the virus. Nearly 115,000 people have been tested, and hospital capacity was relatively stable, with 42% of hospital beds, 44% of intensive care unit beds and 75% of ventilators available for use.

For some infected people, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, the virus can cause severe illness or death. But for most people, it causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough, that clear up in two to three weeks.