Test Result Update: Additional Positives Discovered at YRTC

News Release
For Immediate Release: 4/8/2020

Khalilah LeGrand, Communications, (402) 853-1320
Leah Bucco-White, Communications, (402) 309-4157
Jeremy Eschliman, Two Rivers Health Department, (888) 669-7154


LINCOLN – Today DHHS' Epidemiology team received results from the testing that occurred at YRTC-Kearney this week.  All staff and youth were tested yielding 282 tests. The initial case was discovered after a YRTC-Kearney teammate, who did not return to work after becoming symptomatic, tested positive for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).  After a second teammate was identified, DHHS worked with Two Rivers Health Department and the Nebraska National Guard to setup testing which was conducted by the Nebraska Public Health Lab.

One staff member and three male youth tested positive for COVID-19.  The additional staffer who has tested positive is at home self-isolating and doing well.  The three male youth who have tested positive are asymptomatic and are self-isolating in individual rooms. The necessary areas in the facility have been sanitized and all staff and youth continue to be monitored for symptoms including having their temperature checked daily.  In order to protect privacy of those who have tested positive, additional information will not be released.

As indicated in Sunday's release, the facility is taking steps according to its emergency operations pandemic plan to ensure proper medical care for the youth who have contracted COVID-19 and to allow for continuity of operations. The areas identified in the plan for the youth to self-isolate are now being utilized. Due to safety and security protocols, specifics of where in the facility youth will be quarantined will not be released to the public.

Staff identified as positive for COVID-19 will not be allowed to work until they are appropriately quarantined and are asymptomatic for at least 72 hours. The wellbeing of each youth at the facility is at the forefront of all decision-making.  Should additional cases arise, the plan outlines a process for residents to be rotated in and/or out based on medical assessments.  Decisions with respect to the care and treatment of youth and/or staff are being guided by the YRTC-Kearney on-site nursing staff along with the DHHS epidemiology team and a physician when necessary, to determine the appropriate level of care.  When advised by DHHS epidemiology, public health or a health care provider, staff and youth will be tested for the coronavirus.

DHHS CEO Dannette R. Smith said, “Our proactive approach in deciding to test all staff and residents has certainly assisted with our efforts to identify positive cases and mitigate spread.  I am happy to report that the youth who have contracted COVID-19 are asymptomatic and all staff that are positive are well enough to just self-isolate at home without additional medical intervention.  I again want to commend our staff for being vigilant in their self-monitoring; because of their quick actions, they have indeed helped to mitigate spread. I wish everyone a speedy recovery."  

The YRTC-Kearney medical staff has contacted the parents of the youth who have tested positive for COVID-19 and will regularly update them on the youth's progress.  All parents will receive a letter notifying them of steps taken so far in this evolving situation.   

Here's where to find tools and resources for individuals and families, schools, communities, businesses, healthcare facilities, and first responders on the DHHS website - http://dhhs.ne.gov/coronavirus and CDC's website – https://www.cdc.gov/covid19.

DHHS opened a statewide COVID-19 information line to help answer general questions and share the latest information and resources with Nebraskans to help keep them informed. The number is (402) 552-6645; hours of operation are 8 a.m.-8 p.m. CST, 7 days a week.

DHHS will continue to update Nebraskans through the DHHS website and on Facebook and Twitter as we have new information. The CDC's website is also a good resource for COVID-19 information - https://www.cdc.gov/covid19.


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