There has been a case of Covid-19 among the prisoners at Castlerea Prison, the minister for justice told the Dáil recently.
The Irish Prison Service (IPS) told the Herald that this is the only prisoner case associated with the prison since the pandemic began and that the case was identified at the committal stage, during the mandatory 14-day quarantine. The prisoner never mixed with the other prisoners. The spokesperson said that in many of these cases the IPS is aware that the prisoner has Covid-19 or suspected Covid-19 when they enter the system. Each prisoner must quarantine for 14 days and each prisoner is tested upon committal.
Last week, Minister Helen McEntee told the Dáil that as of 1 March 2021, there have been 97 confirmed prisoner cases of Covid-19 in prisons.
“Of these cases, 44 were community-based infections, which were detected during the committal testing process,” she said. She added that since October 2020 there have been 9 confirmed Covid-19 outbreaks within prisons resulting in 53 confirmed Covid-19 cases among the general prison population.
“To date, no prisoners have been hospitalised with Covid-19. I have been informed by the Irish Prison Service that there are 26 prisoners across the estate currently being treated for Covid-19.”
She also said that since March 2020 a total of 312 confirmed cases of Covid-19 have been reported by staff members.