Prison service confirms 40 inmates have Covid-19

Prison service confirms 40 inmates have Covid-19

The figures come on the back of recent statements issued by the IPS in relation to “outbreaks” in Loughan House Open Centre in Cavan and Wheatfield Prison in west Dublin.

A total of 40 prisoners are currently Covid-19 positive, new figures show.

The results follow testing across the prison system, with the Irish Prison Service stressing the number is in the context of a daily population of 3,667 inmates as of January 8.

The 40 positive tests include 17 cases within the existing prison population and 23 cases involving people who came from the community as a result of being newly committed to prison or were returning to prison from temporary release.

Those testing positive on entry do not join the general prison population and are isolated and tested again before being allocated a cell and joining other prisoners.

The figures come on the back of recent statements issued by the IPS in relation to “outbreaks” in Loughan House Open Centre in Cavan and Wheatfield Prison in west Dublin.

The IPS said that further tests have resulted in three additional positive cases in Loughan House, on top of the existing five cases.

The number of positive cases at Wheatfield remains at five.

A second round of testing is ongoing in Loughan House with the same due to happen soon in Wheatfield, the IPS said.

Other recent developments include a positive case in Cork Prison, this one from a person newly committed.

A single case has also been detected in the general prison population in both Mountjoy Prison and Portlaoise Prison.

In a statement, the IPS said: "The Irish Prison Service can confirm the number in custody for 08th January 2021, is 3,667. The total number of prisoners that have tested positive for Covid-19 is 40 as of today’s date. Out of the 40 we have 17 Prison Based Transmission and 23 Community Transmission.” 

It said the decision to release details on positive tests among prison staff rested with the HSE.

It is understood that up to 10 staff at Wheatfield have do date confirmed they have received a positive result.

The IPS has regularly provided updates on Covid-19 cases on each prison affected and is due to issue further statements.

The IPS has sought to assure family members of prisoners and staff that they are acting immediately on any outbreaks, aware of the potential for the virus to spread quickly within a closed environment.

The IPS is still awaiting confirmation from the Department of Health as to when the vaccine rollout will be included to the prison system.

“The interdepartmental group/NPHET are making the overall determinations on the vaccine policy and the schedule for delivery of the vaccine," the statement said.

"The Irish Prison Service has made a submission to NPHET and is awaiting a response."

It said: "The Irish Prison Service has commenced planning for the delivery of vaccine across the prison estate."

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