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Coronavirus cases are spreading across the accommodation wings at HMP Lowdham Grange, says director Public Health Nottinghamshire

Coronavirus cases are spreading across the accommodation wings at HMP Lowdham Grange.

But the director of Public Health Nottinghamshire said he did not see the the jail as a breeding ground for the virus and was happy with the steps being taken within the prison.

The prison's healthcare accommodation was described as "unfit for purpose" in the jail's latest Independent Monitoring Board report, with facilities far too small for the prison population.

Lowdham Grange. (42465948)
Lowdham Grange. (42465948)

Mr Jonathan Gribbin told a weekly covid briefing Lowdham Grange's operator Serco was doing everything it could alongside Public Health.

There are 63 prisoners and 21 staff members who have tested positive, according to the latest data.

Those who do not have coronavirus are allowed 30 minutes outside their cells a day with face coverings on. Mr Gribbin said prisoners had mostly been compliant with the guidance.

Jonathan Gribbin, director of Public Health for Nottinghamshire. (42214605)
Jonathan Gribbin, director of Public Health for Nottinghamshire. (42214605)

And with more positive cases expected in the coming weeks with additional testing, he said transfers and visits would continue to be stopped.

In the wider Nottinghamshire community, Mr Gribbin said he had seen a consistent rise in the number of cases.

He said Newark and Sherwood was one the worst-affected districts currently with a rate of around 70 per 100,000, compared to the lesser affected districts like Gedling and Bassetlaw — which had rates of around 20 per 100,000.

Mr Gribbin added that if the prison cases were out of the equation, Newark and Sherwood figures would be more reflective of the rest of the county as a whole.

"We've got to double down on the hands, face and space guidance to avoid the hospital admissions we saw previously," he said.

A Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust spokesman told the Advertiser: "We are working closely with prison colleagues, NHS England and NHS Improvement and Public Health England to ensure that all safety and precautionary measures are taken to control the spread of the virus and protect patients and staff at HMP Lowdham Grange.

"We are supporting the track and trace process and ensuring that all infection, prevention and control procedures are followed.

"The healthcare facility provided at HMP Lowdham Grange is not an inpatient facility but mirrors a community surgery with 24-hour cover. Improvements to the facility have been made with refurbishments and additional clinic rooms provided.

"In light of the current situation, healthcare is being delivered on the wings and the healthcare team is working very hard to provide support for patients’ physical and mental health needs at this time."

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