Covid outbreak in Addiewell prison leads to spike in cases

An outbreak of coronavirus in a West Calder prison has contributed to a spike in West Lothian, which saw the region report its second highest ever number of cases following mass testing on Friday.
The prison has seen an outbreak of covid.The prison has seen an outbreak of covid.
The prison has seen an outbreak of covid.

Cases in West Lothian hit 98 on Friday, based on date of testing, up from just 34 the day before. The highest daily total by specimen date in West Lothian was previously on 20 October, when there were 99 positive cases.

The Scottish Government did not reveal how many of those cases were related to HMP Addiewell, which just two days ago reported six positive cases among inmates, but said that incident management teams were "robustly monitoring confirmed cases" at the jail.

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The news follows another outbreak at at HMP Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, where 162 inmates tested positive last week, in the biggest prison outbreak of the pandemic so far.

The Scottish Government said that the cases were a "contributory factor" to the sudden sharp rise in cases in the area, but insisted that community transmission in West Lothian is "still prevalent".

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A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Multi-agency incident management teams are robustly monitoring confirmed cases of covid-19 at HMP Addiewell and the prison service continues to keep prisoners and their families up to date on the situation.“All aspects of prison operations are being closely monitored, including staffing and essential healthcare delivery for those in their care, and all establishments continue to run safely and securely.

She added: “To the credit of health and prison staff, and despite the vulnerability of custodial settings, Scotland’s prisons have been settings of low infection rates and have remained stable and safe environments throughout this pandemic.

“The prison service, Public Health Scotland and the health board continue to monitor localised incidents and take all necessary precautionary steps and clinical advice in order to prevent further transmission and keep those who live and work in the prison safe. While the positive cases at HMP Addiewell are a contributory factor to the increase in case numbers in West Lothian, community transmission is still prevalent and now more than ever we must all stick with the FACTS guidance for a safer Scotland.”

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