Government ramps up efforts to stop Covid-19 breakout in prison

50% increase in positive cases at Helderstroom facility

Bobby Jordan Senior reporter
Prison officials are battling to contain Covid-19 breakouts at its Caledon facility.
Prison officials are battling to contain Covid-19 breakouts at its Caledon facility.
Image: Allan Swart/123RF

Correctional services officials are ramping up efforts to contain Covid-19 after an alarming increase in positive cases at its Helderstroom facility in the Overberg town of Caledon.

In total 152 inmates and eight officials have now tested positive at the facility, with infections almost doubling in a 24-hour period over the weekend.

“Infection prevention control measures are being ramped up at all management areas across the country with specific directives to push for the continued sanitisation of reception areas, cells, offices, vehicles and ablution facilities,” correctional services spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo said in a statement.

The department had prioritised planning around infection prevention, including daily reporting on all preventive and containment activities, Nxumalo said. “DCS recognises the importance of keeping and maintaining correctional facilities Covid-19 free, and will continue to invest a larger part of its disaster management planning on intensifying preventive measures.

“Our Covid-19 strategy will continue to be applied, paying attention to prevention measures, containment and treatment so that we can save lives and better protect every individual within our premises.

“The department has sufficient supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) and the stock levels are being monitored daily,” Nxumalo said.

“Behavioural change and adaptation by officials, inmates and those residing within our premises will go a long way in the prevention of new infections,” he added.

Countrywide 127 DCS officials and 58 inmates have died of Covid-19 related illnesses, according to DCS figures posted on their website. To date there have been 9,554 positive cases, comprising 6,152 officials and 3,402 inmates. The recovery rate is at 87%. There are 1,050 active cases.


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