Dartmoor Prison has confirmed a number of positive Covid-19 cases – helping to explain a recent spike in official figures.

The coronavirus cluster map shows 42 cases in the Chagford, Princetown & Dartmoor area.

That is the highest number of total confirmed cases anywhere in Devon, based on the most recent seven-day period to December 17.

Dartmoor Prison has not confirmed what proportion of the 42 cases are within its walls, but has stressed there is no evidence its outbreak has spread to the wider community.

A Prison Service spokesperson said: “Robust safeguards are in place at Dartmoor following a number of positive cases and we have seen absolutely no evidence to suggest outbreaks in prisons have driven a significant increase in cases in the wider community.”



Covid cluster map of Dartmoor

HMP Dartmoor says it will continue to monitor the situation and has taken all the necessary precautionary measures.

The COVID-19 cluster map uses data from Public Health England’s second generation surveillance system (SGSS) to show the pockets of Devon where coronavirus cases are on the rise.

The map is divided into areas – officially known as Middle Super Output Areas (MSOA) – and each area is coloured a certain shade, depending on how many cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in that area. It relies on data that is usually five days behind but gives an accurate picture of where cases are rising and falling.

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The MSOA for Chagford, Princetown and Dartmoor shows a rolling rate of 605 cases per 100,000 of population. The current average for England is 304. The total of 42 cases represents a rise of 32 in the seven day reporting period to December 17.

Some people living on the sparsely populated moor had expressed puzzlement that the figures for the area were so high as anecdotally community case rates seemed low.

The prison says the greatest risk of managing the Covid-19 spread in prisons comes from transmission from the community.

New arrivals are quarantined, the symptomatic isolated and vulnerable shielded.

It routinely tests prisoner-facing staff. Visitors must follow strict COVID-secure practices, including the wearing of face coverings.

Social distancing is maintained in prisons as far as possible and personal protective equipment such as facemasks are worn in high risk areas, with similar requirements for face coverings to be worn by prisoners and visitors in higher risk areas.





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