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Rise of COVID-19 cases have canceled visits at Nevada prisons

The Nevada Department of Corrections has suspended statewide visitations due to a sharp increase of COVID-19 cases at its facilities.

So far, 209 inmates in the state have tested positive in January — up from 46 positive cases in November 2021, which was the last time NDOC provided data.

The department reported that 210 staff have tested positive for the virus in January — up from 29 positive cases in November 2021.

“Our first priority is the safety of staff and offenders in our custody,” said William Quenga, deputy director for the Nevada Department of Corrections. “While we understand the tremendous value of visiting with friends and loved ones, we must prioritize health and well-being.”

Protocols at each institution require all inmates and staff to wear N95 masks, which are provided by the department.

The department will continue to monitor positive cases and will update the policy accordingly.

The agency reports that 6,767 of its 10,001 inmates — or about 67 percent — at the facility are fully vaccinated.

About 76 percent of its 2,305 employees are fully vaccinated, NDOC said.

All staff members are tested daily for COVID-19 before entering facilities, officials said.

NDOC officials did not indicate whether the suspended visitations will apply to visits between inmates and their attorneys.

The new regulations will not affect visitations at the Nye County Detention Center, as inmate visits are conducted via social media or inside the detention center’s lobby.

Contact reporter Selwyn Harris at sharris@pvtimes.com. On Twitter: @pvtimes.

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