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Alarming increase in Covid-19 infections at Helderstroom prison

90f2cb34 3a18 58bd 8e2c 5b2b209000d8 - Alarming increase in Covid-19 infections at Helderstroom prison

DCS spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo said they

Cape Town – A soaring number of more than 150 Covid-19 infections among inmates at the Helderstroom Maximum Correctional Centre in Caledon has been recorded despite efforts to contain the spread of the virus.

DCS spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo said they have put in place stricter lockdown measures at the Helderstroom prison including limited to almost none movement.

“Inmates cannot move to other sections inside the prison. Outsiders cannot go inside the centre, unless under pressing circumstances or emergency,” he said.

This comes as the National Coronavirus Command Council met the provinces yesterday to discuss the current adjusted level 3 lockdown.

The Department of Correctional Services (DCS) had to place the prison on a strict lockdown on Wednesday after 87 prisoners five officials tested positive.

In a bid to curb further spread, the department isolated the confirmed positive cases and quarantined the presumptive cases.

Although only the Maximum Centre was affected at that stage, DCS also placed strict protocols at the Medium Centre.

However as of Saturday, infections almost doubled following an alarming increase of 152 inmates and eight officials who contracted the virus at the facility.

Nxumalo said the Infection Prevention Control measures were being ramped up at all management areas across the country with specific directives to push for the continued sanitization of reception areas, cells, offices, vehicles and ablution facilities.

About 9,554 positive cases were recorded countrywide, comprising 6,152 officials and 3,402 inmates.

The department lost 127 officials and 58 inmates due to Covid-19 related illnesses.

DCS’s tracking of the virus recorded that, as of Saturday, there had been an additional 126 cases countrywide.

Of the 61 additional cases of officials, the Western Cape recorded eight and of the 65 additional cases of inmates, the province recorded 36 infections.

“DCS recognises the importance of keeping and maintaining correctional facilities Covid-19 free, and will continue to invest a larger part of its disaster management planning on intensifying preventative measures.

“This also talks to daily reporting on all preventative and containment activities as well as incidences within the correctional value chain, especially at coalface and in Departmental offices, to the DCS National Operations Centre,” said Nxumalo.

He said their Covid-19 strategy would continue to be applied, paying attention to prevention measures, containment and treatment.

“The Department has sufficient supply of Personal Protective Equipment and the stock levels are being monitored daily. Behavioural change and adaptation by officials, inmates and those residing within our premises will go a long way in the prevention of new infections,” said Nxumalo.

okuhle.hlati@inl.co.za

Cape Times

90f2cb34 3a18 58bd 8e2c 5b2b209000d8 - Alarming increase in Covid-19 infections at Helderstroom prison

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