Public health boss links Bassetlaw Covid rise with Ranby Prison

A Nottinghamshire public health boss has linked a “marked increase” in Bassetlaw Covid infections with an outbreak of the virus at Ranby Prison.

By Ben McVay
Thursday, 28th January 2021, 4:45 pm

Dawn Jenkin, Consultant in Public Health for Nottinghamshire, said “over a third” of the new cases were related to spiralling infections at HMP Ranby.

Figures released by the Government yesterday (Wednesday) showed new infections in Bassetlaw jumped by 61 per cent during the seven days ending on January 27 - with 160 more cases.

Dawn said: “There has been a marked increase in the number of cases in Bassetlaw - with over a third related to an outbreak at HMP Ranby.”

A Nottinghamshire public health boss has linked a “marked increase” in Bassetlaw Covid infections with an outbreak of the virus at Ranby Prison

She added that “the local authority Public Health team are aware” of the outbreak and it is “being managed through an outbreak control team”.

Dawn said: “Aside from that, the rates within the community cases are in line with what we are seeing in the rest of the county.

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“The only way to bring the rates down across Nottinghamshire is to continue to stick to all the guidance in full – to observe the hands, face and space rules and work together to stop the spread of COVID-19.”

Confirming the outbreak a spokesman for HMP Ranby said: “Our priority is to limit the spread of the virus and protect the lives of those who live and work in our prisons.

“In line with public health guidance, we have taken precautionary measures at Ranby following positive cases and will continue to closely monitor the situation.”

Referring to Government guidance, a Ministry of Justice spokesman added: “We have robust safeguards to stop the spread of coronavirus and we have seen absolutely no evidence to suggest outbreaks in prisons have driven a significant increase in cases in the wider community.”

“The routine testing in prisons means that prisoners and prison staff are more likely to be identified as having COVID-19 than the general population but it does not mean they are more likely to have coronavirus.

“Equally our standard approach is to mass test whole prisons and their staff which identifies many more asymptomatic positives who are unaware of having the virus.”

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.