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Kimberley correctional officials, offender tested for virus

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The Kimberley Correctional Services Centre on a regular basis following fears of infection after a police officer tested positive for Covid-19.

DEPARTMENT of Correctional Services officials and offenders will be disinfecting the Kimberley Correctional Services Centre on a regular basis following fears of infection after a police officer tested positive for Covid-19.

Two correctional officials, who transported an offender to the Kimberley Magistrate’s Court last week and came in contact with the police officer who tested positive, were sent into self-isolation.

It has, however, been reported that drivers who transported them to and from court are still attending to their duties and concern has been raised that an outbreak could erupt at the correctional centre.

The acting head of centre at the Kimberley correctional centre, Patrick Mxinzeleli, said that the offender and officials were tested.

“We immediately sent the two officials for testing at Mediclinic Gariep hospital and they were told to self-isolate. Their test results are negative. The inmate is being isolated at the centre pending her results that were sent to Bloemfontein. It usually takes around five days for test results to be released if it is done at a public hospital. Drivers who transported the offender were screened as we make use of double-cab bakkies where the officials and offenders are seated at the back,” Mxinzeleli said.

He added that there were currently no positive cases at the centre.

“We hope to keep it that way and have embarked on an aggressive and proactive deep-cleaning regime at the Kimberley admission and remand detention facility. Officials and offenders assist with disinfecting the centre every second day. The centre has more than enough high-grade sanitisers and sufficient personal protective equipment for employees.”

He stated that officials had begun sanitising police vehicles used to transport detainees, before leaving the centre, on a daily basis since Wednesday.

“This was after it was noted that SAPS vehicles are only sanitised where officials are seated. As an added measure we have also sanitised the reception area where offenders are admitted as well as the dining area,” said Mxinzeleli.

He added that there was decisive action to allay offenders’ fears of contracting the virus.

“Inmates will disinfect their own cells over the weekend. We are currently making use of four offenders to assist with deep-cleaning the centre, under the supervision of officials.”

Mxinzeleli indicated that auxiliary nurses conducted the daily screening of officials and offenders.