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COVID-19 outbreak at North Carolina prison grows over 250

April 17, 2020 GMT

GOLDSBORO, N.C. (AP) — A COVID-19 outbreak at a North Carolina state prison has spread to more than 250 inmates, prison officials said Friday.

State prisons Commissioner Todd Ishee said during a media briefing that 259 inmates had tested positive as of Friday afternoon at Neuse Correctional Institution, a state prison in Goldsboro. He said none currently require hospitalization and that 98% of those testing positive were asymptomatic. All 700 inmates have been tested but some test results are pending.

Ishee said no coronavirus-related deaths have been reported at any of the state’s prisons.

“The outbreak at Neuse CI is no doubt a cause for concern but not for panic. We have medical protocols in place to handle this and frankly it is better to know up front what we are facing so we can do what is necessary to stop the spread,” Ishee said in an earlier statement.

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Inmates testing positive are being separated from others, and the state is sending additional medical and security staff to the facility. Staff at the prison are also being offered tests, and since April 1, their temperatures have been screened upon arrival.

Statewide, prison officials have been allowing some nonviolent offenders to leave prison early and complete their sentence under community supervision.