A Covid outbreak has swept through a men’s maximum security prison, BirminghamLive can reveal.
The Government’s Covid mapping data revealed that the villages Honeybourne and Littleton – where the jail is situated – had an infection rate of 265.6 per 100,000 of the population, which is currently the highest in the whole of the West Midlands.
Latest data showed that within that area 16 Covid cases were recorded in the seven-days to April 2.
The Prison Service said they are restricted on providing exact Covid figures for the jail, which can hold more than 600 prisoners. But it did say that the number of cases among prisoners and staff had since “significantly fallen” and was now “very low.”
In the seven days leading up to March 31, Honeybourne and Littleton had a whopping infection rate of 398.3.
A Prison Service spokesperson told BirmimghamLive: “Our priority is to limit the spread of the virus and protect the lives of those who live and work in our prisons.
“We took precautionary measures at Long Lartin in line with public health advice, and continue to closely monitor the situation.”
Local councillors were left bemused over the latest figures, believing the prison had contributed to the spike in the overall number of cases.
Honeybourne c ouncillor and former Parish chairman Graham Clelland told BirminghamLive: “I’m absolutely amazed. I haven’t heard of anything untoward and don’t know anyone who has had the virus.
“Littleton could be affected by a lot of cases in the prison. I have heard they have had quite a few cases in the prison, but nothing here in the village at all.”
It follows a “significant” Covid outbreak at HMP Birmingham after “large number” of cases were reported in February.
The Prison Service would not confirm exact Covid numbers – but said its priority was to “limit the spread of the virus and protect lives.”
HMP Long Lartin’s outbreak follows an official report by HM Inspectorate of Prisons in February 2021 – after the death of three inmates during the pandemic.
The document revealed “staff shortages”, while prisoners had “poor” perceptions over their own safety.
“The governor and his team had focused on the management of the pandemic and the partnership working between the establishment, the main health provider and Public Health England was effective,” Charlie Taylor, HM chief inspector of prisons, said.
“They had provided good communication about the restrictions to both staff and prisoners with regular updates.
“Most prisoners said that the measures to prevent the spread of the disease were necessary but the recent outbreak had affected their perceptions of their own safety, which were poor despite falls in recorded violence and self-harm.”