A COVID-19 outbreak at a North Carolina state prison has spread to approximately 150 inmates, health officials said Friday.
The Wayne County Health Department said in a news release that 149 inmates had tested positive for the virus at the state’s Neuse Correctional Institution in Goldsboro. State prison officials had announced about 80 of the cases the previous night.
The county health officials said that the number of positive results was expected to rise as the prison completes testing on all of its 700 inmates.
“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," state prisons Commissioner Todd Ishee said in a statement.
Newly positive inmates are being put into isolation, 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.