The number of prisoners with Covid-19 at the Midlands Prison in Portlaoise has risen again and it's possible more new cases will be confirmed as the second round of test result are expected following mass testing.
The Irish Prison Service confirmed on Friday, November 19 that 47 inmates have tested positive at the medium security jail which houses more than 800 inmates.
The incidence has risen steadily in recent days nearly two weeks after the first two cases were confirmed. The prison authorities also provided an update on testing at the Laois jail where upwards of 1,000 staff and prisoners have been tested.
"Both, first and second round testing has been completed for the staff and prisoners in the Midlands Prison. The Outbreak Control Team (OCT) are currently awaiting the results of the second round of Covid-19 testing. The OCT is working closely with Public Health, HSE in regard to the outstanding test results," it said.
The total number of confirmed prisoner cases of Covid-19 associated with the current outbreaks in Cloverhill, the Midlands and Progression Unit (Mountjoy Prisons) has risen to 71.
Apart from the 47 in Portlaoise, there are 16 in Cloverhill and eight in the Mountjoy Progression Unit.
The the IPS said the Mountjoy unit is in lockdown and awaiting the first round of Covid-19 test results. While the main part of Mountjoy Prison is operating a normal regime and prisoners have access to physical visits and essential services, the IPS said services will likely be subject to some curtailment during the course of the outbreak and the associated Covid-19 staff testing programme.
The authorities added that the roll out of the Covid-19 vaccination programme has witnessed approximately 90% of the prison population vaccinated allowing for a reduction in regime restrictions in recent weeks.
It said vaccination clinics are continuing across the prison estate offering vaccines to unvaccinated prisoners and providing a third dose booster vaccine to vulnerable prisoners, in line with community guidance.
There are no figures on prison officer vaccination rates as they are administered in the community.
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