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Two NC prison officials have tested positive

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While the number of infections on Saturday was 388, this jumped to 571 by Sunday.

TWO OFFICIALS from the Department of Correctional Services in the Northern Cape have now tested positive for Covid-19.

There has been a steep jump in the number of coronavirus infections in the prison system over the past few days, with most of the cases in the Eastern Cape.

While the number of infections on Saturday was 388, this jumped to 571 by Sunday.

According to the Department of Correctional services (DCS) spokesperson, Singabakho Nxumalo, a total of 477 inmates were tested in East London on May 5, 2020 

“The first batch of results was received on May 11, 2020, confirming 103 positive cases and 78 testing negative, whilst 277 results remained outstanding. DCS is now able to confirm that 178 of the 277 inmates also tested positive, which illustrates the upturn in East London,” said Nxumalo.

He added that oversight visits indicated that correctional centres were complying with the standard operating procedures and protocols on Covid-19. “However, the medical advisory panel has advised Correctional Services to go beyond the prescribed screening procedures as that could be challenging for a correctional environment. As a result, DCS has commenced with advanced screening which includes assessment of vital signs. At least 1 087 specimens of inmates were collected on May 16, 2020 and this will now be a norm as we surge forward.”

He stated further that Infection Prevention Control (IPC) was receiving necessary attention as it played a critical role in curbing the spread of the infection in correctional centres. “DCS will continue to separate newly admitted inmates from other inmates for at least 14 days.”    

The Eastern Cape has reported the bulk of the infections, with  414 cases reported. This includes 55 officials and 359 inmates. Two deaths have been reported in the province.

The Western Cape has 134 cases, comprising of 109 officials and 25 inmates. Two deaths have also been reported there.

Limpopo prisons have reported two coronavirus infections, both involving officials. Gauteng has 16 cases – seven officials and nine inmates.

The Northern Cape has two cases, both officials. The Free State and KwaZulu-Natal have each reported one case, both officials.

Head Office has one case, with one recovery.

It was reported last week that an official at the Department of Correctional Services in Kimberley had tested positive for Covid-19.

The offices of the Department of Correctional Services in Du Toitspan Road were sanitised on Tuesday last week, while the road in front of the building was blocked off to traffic on both sides by police and traffic officials.

More than 10 people were seen donning white protective suits, while equipment used to spray the sanitiser was being prepared for use.

People working in other offices also in the Du Toitspan Building were not able to access or leave their offices while the department’s offices were being sterilised.

It is believed that the official worked in the administration offices and did not deal directly with offenders.

Between 50 and 60 officials of the department, who also work in the Du Toitspan Building offices, were sent for testing on Tuesday last week.

It is not certain if the second official is also from Kimberley.