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Virus testing extended for prison staff

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Coronavirus testing for staff at state prisons, including Nash Correctional Institution in Momeyer, is being extended until at least July 31, public safety officials have announced.

The initiative provides voluntary COVID-19 testing to employees in the N.C. Division of Adult Correction and Juvenile Justice. In collaboration with the State Health Plan, FastMed Urgent Care and LabCorp, the initiative will provide more than 21,000 prison employees statewide the opportunity to schedule a private appointment to be tested.

The tests will be conducted at all FastMed locations statewide, said Jerry Higgins, spokesman for the N.C. Department of Public Safety.

Employees who work across the state in prisons or juvenile facilities, or in the community supervising juveniles and adult offenders, continue to be eligible for confidential, flexible and voluntary COVID-19 testing.

Employees can either call into a FastMed hotline from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily or schedule the appointment online at the FastMed website. Employees will continue to access their results through LabCorp’s secure online portal.

“The Department of Public Safety would like to thank our partners — FastMed Urgent Care, LabCorp, the State Health Plan and the Department of Health and Human Services — in extending this important initiative,” said Chief Deputy Secretary Tim Moose. “Our dedicated staff continue to face the challenges of providing public safety to our citizens through the pandemic, and their health and safety are our top priorities.”

This staff testing initiative has made testing available to employees who work for prisons, community corrections and juvenile justice in more than 350 work sites, facilities, office settings and communities in each of the state’s 100 counties. This plan has allowed for the safe continuity of operations and confidentiality for staff, Higgins said.