Mass testing at Midlands Prison finds virus cases among staff, not inmates
Updated / Monday, 2 Nov 2020 20:18
Mass testing of all prisoners in the Midlands Prison has found no further positive cases of Covid-19, the Irish Prison Service has confirmed.
However, a number of staff have tested positive for the virus and contact tracing has commenced in this regard.
Following confirmation last week of a positive prisoner case, the Irish Prison Service and Midland Prison management implemented a comprehensive contingency plan to prevent the spread of Covid-19 to the wider prison population.
The Irish Prison Service, in a statement, said this was a major logistical operation that included mass testing of all prisoners and staff as well as the introduction of a restricted regime within the prison.
The Midlands Prison is a closed, medium security prison for adult males with capacity for 870 inmates. As of today, there are 802 prisoners in custody there.
The Irish Prison Service said it is continuing to work closely with HSE/Public Health and arrangements are being made with the HSE for the re-testing of all prisoners and staff later this week.
“This will support a return to a more normal prison regime as soon as possible,” it said.
The director general of the Irish Prison Service, Caron McCaffrey, today visited the Midlands Prison to meet with management and staff and the National Infection Control Team.
There is a review underway into the operational and infection control arrangements in place at the jail.
“We have been preparing for a possible outbreak of infection for the past nine months and since Friday, Midlands Prison staff have expertly implemented this plan and protected the people in their care,” sad Ms McCaffrey.
“Unfortunately, a number of staff have tested positive and we send them our best wishes and hope that they recover fully and quickly.”