Prison officials in Nebraska have canceled Christmas Eve visits due to the flu. In an alert posted to the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services website, officials said visitation was canceled at the Nebraska State Penitentiary for Tuesday, Dec. 24, and that if visitation at other facilities were impacted due to illness an update would be provided.
According to a news release sent on Sunday, nearly four dozen cases of the flu have been confirmed, with more cases suspected across five prison facilities, according to the Associated Press.
Nebraska is currently experiencing widespread flu activity, according to the state’s health department, with 381 hospitalizations, and at least one death so far this season. Nationwide, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that at least 2.6 million cases of the flu have been reported, with at least 23,000 hospitalizations and 1,300 deaths.
Nebraska is among several states, including Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, New Mexico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Washington to have “high” flu activity levels.
Prisons director Scott Frakes said the decision was made out of concern for protecting the public.
“Obviously the cancellation of visits (will) be an inconvenience. But, we recognize the need to protect members of the public as well,” Frakes said, according to the Associated Press.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.