Finance

Prison officials can’t avoid breaking their coveted 19 work bubbles – the union.

The president of the Correctional Association says prison officials try their best to stay inside the bubbles, but “there is some pollution” that is inevitable.

A correctional officer.

Image: RNZ / Claire Eastham Ferley

A correctional officer at Spring Hill Prison in Waikato has tested positive for Covid 19, and less than a third of inmates in the same unit have received their first dose of the vaccine.

Alan Whitley, president of the Reform Association, said. Checkpoint This is not the first time that Covid 19 has been released from prison.

But he said the situation was “relevant”.

Depending on the absence and movement of officers in the jail, he said, “sometimes people working in one unit or people working in one unit and then there is some pollution in the other unit.”

“All the prisons are understaffed to run completely separate bubbles,” he said.

A tricolor woman said. Checkpoint He wrote a letter to Prime Minister and Reform Minister Calvin Davis a week ago expressing concern about the transfer of prisoners between prisons during the Level 4 lockdown.

Whitley said the escorts were under Level 4 alert.

“I know there were some prisoner escorts under Alert Level 4 to free some of the beds. Some of these beds were released to be on Spring Hill so they could remand inmates. And manage isolated units and quarantine units, which they needed to do.

“I don’t know of any prisoners coming out of Spring Hill at the moment, but if we have a shortage of beds, there could be other movements across the country,” he said.

When prisoners are transferred to the new prison, they are kept in an isolated unit for 14 days, Whitley said.

He said he believed it was still happening.

Prison Director Scott Walker said the staff member who tested positive for Covid 19 last night lives in Auckland, is fully vaccinated and has no symptoms.

“We took immediate action Monday night to identify and contact the 23 staff who were in contact with the man on the job,” Walker said.

“Everyone is advised to isolate and get tested as advised by the Public Health Unit. These staff will not return to work until they have returned the negative test and have been tested by the Public Health Team. Don’t be clear. “

Of the 427 staff at Spring Hill Prison, 406 are said to have received the first dose of the Code 19 vaccine and 288 have been fully vaccinated.

The staff member worked at the jail on Saturday, and this evening he was attached to a recent point of interest.

“He immediately isolated himself and was tested on Sunday. The test returned positive on Monday evening.”

Walker said the unit, where 123 detainees worked as staff members, has been set aside for medical supervision and will be tested for Covid 19.

Whitley said life for these detainees would be much different than before the officer tested positive.

“They will be left in small groups – I know the DHB is being asked for reform information because it is a stable population, they have not moved in and out of this unit. “It simply came to our notice then.

Of the unit’s men, Reform said 46 received their first dose of the Code 19 vaccine.

“The unit is now functioning as a quarantine unit, which means that all staff have improved PPE, including masks, gloves, gowns and goggles, when interacting with inmates,” he said.

“Prisoners have also been instructed to wear PPE.”

Whitley said he believed the detainees were only asked to wear masks.

As the country has moved to Alert Level 4, prisoners wear masks whenever they are out of their cells.

Walker said some of those recently released are being contacted.

“A small number of men who were in the unit and those who have been released are being contacted and advised to be isolated and tested and the Public Health Unit will follow them.”

Spring Hill Prison can hold about 1,200 inmates, and reform says 404 inmates there have received the first dose of the vaccine, while 45 inmates have been fully vaccinated.

The supply of vaccines to prisoners was suspended in June, when the Ministry of Health decided to slow down the supply of vaccines to some groups to handle the low stock. It resumed in late July.

Reform Minister Calvin Davis declined to be interviewed. Checkpoint But a statement said he thanked the affected staff member for being vigilant in their investigation.

He said the reforms had been planning this possibility for some time and he was confident that his full plans would limit the spread of the virus in prisons.

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