GOLDSBORO, N.C. (WNCN)– After all 700 prisoners at the Neuse Correctional Institution in Wayne County were tested for the coronavirus, more than 280 tested positive, according to officials.
Earlier Friday, the Wayne County Health Department identified 246 positive COVID-19 cases in all of Wayne County. The number has since increased to 378 after more positive results from the prison.
The North Carolina Division of Prisons tested all 700 inmates along with staff members who wanted to be tested. As of Friday night, the number of positive cases at the prison is 281.
Just two weeks ago, there were only two positive COVID-19 cases at the prison.
The Wayne County Health Department is helping the facility with this testing process, and these numbers will most likely continue to climb, according to the news release.
“This strategy is the result of a strong collaborative and coordinated effort between the Prisons Incident Command Team, the Department of Health and Human Services, the State Laboratory for Public Health, LabCorp and the Wayne County Health Department,” Commissioner of Prisons Todd Ishee said in a news release. “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.”
Health department officials say staff members also continue working closely with long-term care facilities to minimize the spread of COVID-19 by following guidance from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.