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Implementation of novel and conventional outbreak control measures in managing COVID-19 outbreaks in a large UK prison

Coleman, P. ORCID: 0000-0002-8681-9070, Pailing, A., Roy, A. , O’Moore, É., Chandan, J. S., Lumby, V., Newton, P., Taylor, A., Robinson, E., Swindells, J., Dowle, S. & Gajraj, R. (2022). Implementation of novel and conventional outbreak control measures in managing COVID-19 outbreaks in a large UK prison. BMC Public Health, 22(1), 677. doi: 10.1186/s12889-022-12991-7


Outbreak control measures during COVID-19 outbreaks in a large UK prison consisted of standard (e.g., self-isolation) and novel measures, including establishment of: (i) reverse cohorting units for accommodating new prison admissions; (ii) protective isolation unit for isolating symptomatic prisoners, and (iii) a shielding unit to protect medically vulnerable prisoners.

Single-centre prospective longitudinal study (outbreak control study), implementing novel and traditional outbreak control measures to prevent a SARS-COV-2 outbreak. The prison held 977 prisoners and employed 910 staff at that start of the outbreak.

120 probable and 25 confirmed cases among prisoners and staff were recorded between March and June 2020 during the first outbreak. Over 50% of initial cases among prisoners were on the two wings associated with the index case.

During the second outbreak, 182 confirmed cases were recorded after probable reintroduction from a staff member. Widespread testing identified 145 asymptomatic prisoners, 16.9% of the total prisoner cases. The cohorting units prevented re-infection from new prison admissions and the shielding unit had no COVID-19 infections linked to either outbreak.

Identifying and isolating infected prisoners, cohorting new admissions and shielding vulnerable individuals helped prevent uncontrollable spread of SARS-COV-2. These novel and cost-effective approaches can be implemented in correctional facilities globally.

Publication Type: Article
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Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Healthcare Services Research & Management
Text - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

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