10 prisoners test positive for Covid-19 in Midlands Prison as outbreak confirmed
Ten prisoners in Midlands Prison have tested positive for Covid-19 in the latest round of mass testing at the Portlaoise prison.
These positive cases came after mass testing in Ireland’s largest prison initiated due to three prisoners testing positive earlier this week.
“The Irish Prison Service can confirm that following the completion of first round mass testing in the Midlands Prison, 10 positive cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed amongst the prisoner population,” an Irish Prison Service spokesperson said in a statement.
“Following the confirmation of positive prisoner cases, the Irish Prison Service and Midland Prison management have implemented a comprehensive contingency plan to prevent the spread of Covid-19 to the wider prison population.”
A number of staff at the 800-inmate facility also tested positive for the virus in recent weeks.
A second round of mass testing will be conducted at the prison next week, along with the introduction of a “restricted regime” across the prison as part of a “major logistical operation” to control the outbreak.
“The Irish Prison Service 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, in order to provide an assured response to the current outbreak in Midlands Prison.
“This will support a return to a more normal prison regime as soon as possible,” the spokesperson said.
The Prison service acknowledged family members of inmates held at the prison will be “concerned” for the safety of prisoners and said: “We want to assure you that our Prison Staff and Healthcare Team are doing everything they can to protect the people in their custody.