The total number of positive COVID-19 cases in correctional facilities has risen to 44. Three more cases were reported over the weekend, and these include both inmates or employees of the correctional centres of Worcester, Allandale and Voorberg.

Two of the 44 cases are inmates.

Speaking to IOL, Singabakho Nxumalo, a spokesperson for the Department of Correctional Services (DCS), revealed that five of the country’s 245 correctional centres have reported positive cases.

“Health care teams are on site, armed with appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), which includes goggles, gloves, masks and gowns, rendering care services to distress cases and monitoring those likely to develop acute respiratory challenges,” Nxumalo said.

“Valuable lessons have been learnt at East London and this has assisted us. However, it must be acknowledged that as the virus continues to spread in communities correctional centres within the same localities will remain vulnerable. Officials attending gatherings and involved in movements from their residences to places of work are receiving screening.”

Units and wings in correctional facilities are now being divided into open spaces to avoid overcrowding of prisoners and officials who work at correctional centres.

As of Sunday, April 3, the Western Cape had 3 113 confirmed cases of COVID-19. While 58 people have died, 833 have recovered.

The Department of Health employs its hotspot approach in prisons and actively seeks out positive cases through widespread screening and testing.

“This is especially important in prisons, where large numbers of people are held in close quarters. The health of all citizens is considered throughout our management of the Covid-19 pandemic,” Bianca Cupazorio, spokesperson for Premier Alan Winde, said. ” The Department of Correctional Facilities has indicated that three new infections are prison officials and so far only two prisoners have tested positive for Covid-19.”

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