Pollsmoor Management has embarked on a mass screening and testing campaign from 4-8 May 2020, with the venue for the screening and testing aptly named “Empilisweni” (place of healing).
Following the appointment of eight nurses on 4 May 2020, management at Pollsmoor has moved swiftly to implement measures to prevent a potential outbreak of COVID-19. Pollsmoor has managed to admit its first COVID-19 positive inmate, who was transferred from Worcester Female to Pollsmoor on 21 April 2020.
From the outset, there were lingering fears that Pollsmoor would be more susceptible to COVID-19, given the size of its inmate population coupled with the significant number of frequent visitors who check on their friends and family members incarcerated at the centre. The situation at Pollsmoor is further affirmation of the efficacy of the Department’s National Disaster Management Strategy.
COVID-19 Treatment Site
The COVID-19 Management Task Team in Pollsmoor are working round-the-clock to prevent the virus from entering the facility. This effort was initiated will full vigour even before the national lockdown was announced. The Task Team has set up a 300-bed facility, known as the COVID-19 Treatment Site for inmates of the Western Cape region. A section of Medium A Correctional Centre has been converted into an isolation treatment site, which will complement the hospital capacity. In addition, six park homes with ablution facilities were set up to cater for the overflow of COVID-19 positive inmates (mild cases).
The site has a separate entrance and is totally isolated from the rest of the inmate population. It is also restricted, and only accessible to COVID-19 positive patients and dedicated personnel adhering to strict quarantine protocols including using the desired personal protective equipment (PPE’s) where needed. Management is proud of the cooperation amongst officials taking up duties at the treatment site.
To date, 42 489 screenings for COVID-19 have been done as at 8 May 2020. Of these, 18 921 were inmates, parolees/ probationers and 23 568 officials. The screening and testing of officials and inmates is ongoing, and measures are in place to provide support to those who may test positive for COVID-19. Testing was also conducted on those residing within DCS premises. Prevention measures will continue to be intensified. The management of Pollsmoor would like to wish all Departmental officials who have tested positive a speedy recovery, and pledges its ongoing commitment to the wellbeing of inmates and officials.