Irish Prison Service issues statement on Covid-19 to confirm positive staff tests

Conor Ganly

Reporter:

Conor Ganly

coronavirus covid-19

Portlaoise is home to the country's biggest prison complex

There has been no positive Covid-19 test among prisoners at jails in Portlaoise or in any other custodial facilities in Ireland, according to the Irish Prison Service (IPS).

However, the service did confirm that staff have tested positive. 

The service issued a statement on Sunday afternoon, May 10 after the management of the virus in jails was discussed at a HSE press briefing on Sunday. 

"The Irish Prison Service can confirm that, with regard to figures released in relation to positive Covid-19 cases in Irish Prisons, there have been no confirmed cases of Covid-19 amongst the prisoner population in an Irish prison and that the cases referred to relate only to staff who have been confirmed positive for the disease," said the statement.

It did not say how many staff contracted the virus or where they were based. However a spokesperson added that there are "a number of staff" who have either tested positive or are isolating awaiting a test.

HSE management praised the management of the virus in jails as did the Irish Red Cross last week which said staff and prisoners have worked together to control its spread.

Staff at the Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise have also worked with the prison service to plan the management of an outbreak.

"There has been ongoing communications between the Irish Prison Service management at Portlaoise hospital," said the service in a statement to the Leinster Express.

"It is recognised that there will be occasions during the COVID-19 outbreak where the IPS must transfer a patient from the IPS primary healthcare setting to a hospital setting for care. Both the IPS and Portlaoise hospital are taking the necessary steps to improve the communication between the prison setting and hospital setting to minimise risk to all staff and patients in these circumstances," said the statement.