Cape Town - The Helderstroom Maximum Correctional Centre in Caledon has been placed on lockdown to contain the spread of Covid-19 infections.
There was an increase in the number of inmates testing positive, which is now at 87, while five officials returned positive results.
As of Wednesday, 1 178 officials in the Western Cape had tested positive for the virus, while 798 inmates were infected. The Department of Correctional Services (DCS) lost 25 officials in the province and nine inmates due to Covid-19.
The province recorded 80 additional cases of inmates who contracted the virus, and eight officials.
At the weekend, George Correctional Services lost its centre head, Jan Tieties, 50.
What was critical at this stage, said DCS spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo, was the activation of containment and treatment measures.
“While the process of tracing the index cases is under way, the department has isolated the confirmed positive cases and quarantined the presumptive cases. Although only the Maximum Centre is affected at this stage, DCS is leaving nothing to chance and the Medium Centre is being monitored closely.”
Nxumalo said infection prevention control measures were 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.
“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.
“This also talks to daily reporting on all preventive and containment activities, as well as incidents within the correctional value chain, especially at the coalface and in departmental offices, to the DCS National Operations Centre,” said Nxumalo.
Meanwhile, the deployment of soldiers into southern Cape communities has been delayed by a day following “logistical challenges”.
The SANDF had given the green light to 40 of their Cape Town members assisting in the Garden Route and other areas to maintain compliance with the Disaster Management Act.
SANDF Brigadier-General Mafi Mgobhozi said the aim was to support police and other local authorities who had asked for help.