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Virus infects almost all in Carson City prison camp

Published: Dec. 2, 2020 at 5:33 PM PST
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CARSON CITY, Nev. (KOLO) - The Stewart Conservation Camp sits adjacent to the Northern Nevada Correctional Center in the southeast corner of Carson City. Those serving time here are generally low risk, non-violent, held under minimum security and allowed to take on jobs like fighting wildfires and even training wild horses.

At the moment though, most of them are under quarantine. According to the Department of Corrections, all but 14 of the 254 inmates here have tested positive for the virus. That has some on the outside concerned.

“I know they are not the most popular parts of the community for people to be concerned about,” says Katie Shafer, who’s fiance is one of those who has tested positive, “but they have loved ones who care about them, they are human beings and we just all want to make sure that they are healthy and get home as soon as possible.”

She says the state seemed to be doing a good job keeping the virus out of the camp until very recently, but all that changed very quickly.

“I think they tried to eliminate the spread but unfortunately they did that before anyone was tested. They could have cross-contaminated people by moving them to units where they weren’t before.

The department says most of those infected show no symptoms. She’s hearing otherwise.

<K“He said most people actually do have symptoms. It’s more like a cold, but they are symptomatic.”

All of the affected inmates have seen medical staff and a higher level of care will be available if needed. At the moment the department says all the positive cases are being isolated, but then that includes almost everyone inside.

Phone time and mail have resumed, as has time outside, but yard time at the moment is limited to one unit, two hours at a time.

Those held here have are those jobs that help not only pass the time, but allow them to earn “good time” toward an earlier release. If they can’t go to those jobs, that’s a setback.

“You know it impacts everyone, but it’s important to make sure that the virus doesn’t have a negative impact on these people who basically just want to get back to their families.”

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