weather icon Mostly Cloudy

Total of 3 Nevada Department of Corrections employees test positive for COVID-19

Updated April 7, 2020 - 3:54 pm

As two more state Department of Corrections employees tested positive for COVID-19, department director Charles Daniels is visiting corrections facilities across the state to speak with staff about the outbreak.

“We’re in this together,” Daniels said during a recent visit to High Desert State Prison near Indian Springs, which announced March 26 that one of its staff had tested positive for COVID-19. “We’re on the front lines. The community is counting on our leadership during this pandemic.”

Daniels spoke with correctional officers and support staff, watched Surface Sanitation Teams clean surfaces throughout the prison and toured the unit where the infected staff member had worked. Surface Sanitation Teams have been thoroughly cleaning surfaces at the prison with a 10% bleach solution as part of the department’s attempts to contain the virus.

“Our ongoing public health response was to detect and isolate both staff and offenders who displayed symptoms or tested positive for COVID-19,” Daniels said. “We further assessed our contingency plans and modified them to deal with the threat.”

High Desert’s warden, Calvin Johnson, who has been on the job less than a week, accompanied Daniels on his visit.

“It’s important for our staff to see the director at the facilities,” Johnson said. “It shows that he cares about the challenges our front-line staff face. It’s also a chance for us to show the protocols we’re taking to contain the spread of COVID-19.”

Those protocols, which are consistent with national and state health and human services guidance, include the employee self-quarantining at home, offenders isolated in their cells and medical staff checking both employees and inmates for signs of the virus.

The Department of Corrections has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by implementing more intensive screening and precautionary measures based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other agencies.

“I’m proud of the work our custody staff continue to do while executing contingency plans with discipline and professionalism,” said Harold Wickham, Nevada Department of Corrections deputy director of operations. “NDOC will continue to closely monitor the situation at all of our facilities and work closely with local and state public health officials to ensure the health and safety of staff and offenders.”

The first positive test in the department was at High Desert and reported April 2. This week, two new positive cases involve an employee at Ely State Prison and another at Casa Grande Transitional Housing in Las Vegas, department spokesman Scott Kelly told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

“I extend my thoughts and empathy to those who have been impacted by COVID-19,” Daniels added. “This is a challenging time for all of us, and I’m impressed by our response at High Desert State Prison. Further, emergency operations centers have been activated at every institution. Our wardens are conducting separate town hall meetings with the offender population every Tuesday and Friday during each of our primary shifts.

“NDOC is a public safety agency committed to keeping our communities safe and will continue to man the line during this crisis.”

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Supreme Court rejects California church’s challenge

Chief Justice John Roberts again was the deciding vote Friday when the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a California church’s attempt to overturn the state’s coronavirus restrictions on in-person religious services.

U.S. 95 closing for repairs in Nye, Esmeralda counties

The Nevada Department of Transportation is temporarily closing U.S. Highway 95 between the U.S. Route 6 and State Route 360 junctions from 6 a.m. June 3, through 4 p.m. June 17 in Esmeralda and Mineral counties, a closure needed for $2.43 million in federally funded emergency repairs.

Golden announces Pahrump properties will reopen June 4

Golden Entertainment, Inc., announced Friday that Pahrump Nugget Hotel & Casino, Gold Town Casino and Lakeside Casino & RV Park will reopen at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday, June 4.

Administration considers resuming nuclear testing

The Trump administration has discussed whether to conduct the first U.S. nuclear test explosion since 1992 in a move that would have far-reaching consequences for relations with other nuclear powers and reverse a decades-long moratorium on such actions, the Washington Post reported Thursday.

Fire destroys several structures, vehicles

Pahrump Valley Fire and Rescue Services crews were met with explosions and red hot embers raining down upon them as they battled a destructive multi-structure fire on Tuesday evening, May 26th.

Thousands watch Nye County GOP virtual debate

The Nye County Republican Central Committee, with the participation of the Pahrump Valley Times, hosted a GOP debate last weekend for the contenders vying for the Republican vote in the 2020 primary election, with nearly three dozen candidates joining in to tackle a variety of topics pertinent to their various offices and thousands of voters watching over two days of discourse and debate.

Striving for success, commission reduces Pahrump Fall Festival vendor fees

The Pahrump Fall Festival is, hands down, the single largest community event in the valley each year but over the past few years, it has been dwindling a bit in terms of participation by vendors offering merchandise and goodies for the thousands of people who turn out on a regular basis. With this in mind, town and county officials have made the decision to revise the vendor booth fee schedule, lowering the prices in an effort to attract more vendors and make the 2020 Fall Festival a resounding success.

Pahrump’s Movies in the Park given the go-ahead

It’s been more than two months since the last community gathering was held in Pahrump and though certain restrictions are still in place regarding the number of people allowed to congregate in public or private settings, the town is now readying for the first large-scale public event since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in Nevada, its annual Movies in the Park.

California Lottery

No one matched all five numbers and the mega number in the Wednesday, May 27 drawing of the California Super Lotto. The next jackpot will be at least $10 million.