NC prisons seeing little increase in COVID-19 cases despite statewide surge, officials say

North Carolina

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — While COVID-19 cases are quickly rising across the state, the North Carolina prison system says it’s not seeing much of an increase.

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The North Carolina Department of Public Safety says out of nearly 29,000 offenders statewide, there are only 23 active cases and only one hospitalization in the past couple of months.

Prison officials say it’s a substantial drop from the numbers they were seeing during the winter surge.

Leaders in the state’s prison system say when the rest of the country was easing up on COVID-19 protocols, they kept theirs in place and that’s why they believe they haven’t seen a large increase.

“We continued our mask mandates in all of our prisons, we continued all of our testing but we’ve transitioned to now where it’s unvaccinated staff (are tested) every two weeks,” said Dr. Arthur Campbell, chief medical officer for state prisons.

Dr. Campbell says they’ve offered incentives for prisoners who got the vaccine and let new offenders know it’s in their best interest to get vaccinated.

“We let them know, as one of the wardens put it, we’re a vaccinated community and we encourage them to do that,” Campbell said.

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