Testing Underway for YRTC-Kearney Youth and Staff

News Release
For Immediate Release: 4/5/2020

Leah Bucco-White, Communications, (402) 309-4157

Khalilah LeGrand, Communications, (402) 853-1320


Nebraska National Guard and Two Rivers Health Department Facilitate

NOTE: Photos are available at:

LINCOLN – On Sunday, DHHS' Epidemiology and YRTC-Kearney staff along with Two Rivers Health Department and the Nebraska National Guard, setup on-site testing for all of YRTC-K residents and staff. After one teammate, who did not return to work after becoming symptomatic, tested positive, a contact investigation commenced.  A second teammate was identified as a result of the initial contact investigation. 

CEO Dannette Smith said, “We are taking decisive action to coordinate testing to ensure the safety and well-being of our residents and staff. As outlined in our pandemic plan, staff did everything right, those who were symptomatic did not come in to work and immediately reported symptoms to a supervisor, temperature checks of residents and staff began in March and physical visitations were replaced with virtual visits. These steps were key in us immediately identifying potential exposures and mitigating spread. Today, 162 staff were tested with the help of about 25 National Guardsmen. The testing process was very efficient and we appreciate the rapid response from the Guard and Two Rivers."

Additional actions at the facility will allow for continuity of operations.  Should it become necessary, the plan in place identifies spaces to be used as potential quarantine or isolation areas. Residents will be rotated in and/or out based on medical assessments. Staff identified as positive for COVID-19 will not be allowed to work until they are appropriately quarantined and are a symptomatic for at least 72 hours. 

The YRTC Kearney staff will work diligently to maintain regular communication between youth and their families, and key stakeholders. The DHHS Epidemiology team, Two Rivers Health Department and the NE National Guard will continue to conduct close contact investigations and arrange for monitoring and testing of individuals identified as needed.

Test results are expected mid-week and those results will dictate next steps. We will share more information in the coming days. 

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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