VICTORIA’S prison system has been revealed as a potential hotbed of illness and contamination, with Fulham Correctional Centre one of six prisons in the state to be shut down after a Victorian prison guard tested positive for coronavirus.
While the officer’s contact with other staff and prisoners at centres around the state is being determined, Fulham and another five prisons have been placed into lockdown.
It was confirmed on Tuesday that the officer at Ravenhall Centre in Melbourne’s west had tested positive to COVID-19.
Two inmates who had been at Ravenhall before going to Loddon prison are also in quarantine, according to the Community and Public Sector Union, awaiting the results of COVID-19 tests.
“The Department of Health and Human Services have been notified and contact tracing is currently underway, with impacted staff and prisoners being notified,” according to a Corrections Victoria statement.
The prison officer at Ravenhall who tested positive to COVID-19 had been self-isolating since Thursday last week, a Department of Justice and Community Safety spokesperson has been quoted as saying.
Malmsbury Youth Justice Centre also went into COVID-19 lockdown on Sunday after a worker tested positive to COVID-19.
All the young people at the centre who were tested for the virus have tested negative.
An outbreak of coronavirus in the highly populated jail system would be a disaster for Corrections Victoria. However, when the Gippsland Times attempted to phone Corrections Victoria, all calls went unanswered.
Corrections Victoria told mainstream media last week that a number of measures had already taken place, in line with its COVID-19 management plans.
They included placement of potential prisoner contacts in quarantine units, contact tracing and thorough cleaning.