Huge testing operation underway as Covid-19 outbreak confirmed in midlands prison
The number of prisoners with Covid-19 at one of Portlaoise's jails has risen to 41 according to the Irish Prison Service (IPS).
The latest cases were confirmed at the Midlands Prison following an Covid-19 testing programme involving hundreds and prisoners and staff on Sunday, November 14. The service has subsequently issued a statment in which it outlined the situation across the system.
"The Irish Prison Service can confirm a prisoner has tested positive for Covid-19 in the Progression Unit, Mountjoy Prison. A decision was taken by the Outbreak Control Team (OCT) to test all staff and the prisoners located in the Progression Unit.
"This latest outbreak follows recent outbreaks of Covid-19 in Cloverhill Prison, where currently 17 prisoners have contracted Covid-19 and the Midlands Prison where 41 prisoners have been confirmed as positive," it said.
The IPS added that control have been established in each of the location to agree and oversee the appropriate actions taken to mitigate against further possible spread of the disease within those prisons.
The outbreak was confirmed at the Midlands after two prisoners tested positive for for the virus on Thursday, November 4. This led to testing in E and G Divisions. The discovery of 31 more cases by Friday, November led to inmates in the remaining A, B, C & D divisions to be tested last weekend.
At least 10 more cases were detected from this process.
The IPS says that while has been hugely successful in protecting the prison community to date, the latest Covid-19 surge has created an 'unprecedented challenge'.
Restriction regimes are in operation at the Midlands and other jails in a bid to step the spread of the Delta variant.
The outbreaks are having a significant knock-on impact on the courts causing a judge to request a Governor to explain the situation in court this week.
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