Every correctional facility in Queensland is in full lockdown after an officer at a Queensland Corrective Services (QCS) academy tested positive for COVID-19.
QCS released a statement on Wednesday evening confirming the lockdown, saying the confirmed case was at work last Friday.
“All correctional facilities in Queensland will remain on full lockdown until [Thursday] morning to allow for briefings and further advice from Queensland Health,” the statement read.
The decision has been welcomed by the Together Union, which has been informed that some of the trainees the confirmed case interacted with had since visited multiple prisons.
Assistant secretary of the Together Union Michael Thomas said the stage 4 restrictions required all prisoners to remain in their cells and everyone on site must wear masks.
“That’s to allow Queensland Health to come in and do its work around the contact tracing and make sure we minimise the risk as much as possible,” he said.
He said prisons are well-prepared for this scenario and had already implemented temperature testing and infra-red cameras to detect anyone with above-average temperatures.
“QCS has, from early on, taken this very seriously, if COVID does get into a prison that could be a real issue,” he said.
He said the union supported this highly precautious approach.
“Correctional centres — they’re overcrowded at the moment, it’s very difficult if nigh on impossible to do social distancing, so prevention is absolutely the way to go.
“If there’s even the slightest chance, we should make sure we take all steps possible.”
Mr Thomas said unlike nursing homes, correctional centre staff should not be working at more than one centre and most staff are confined to one area of the prison.
“There’s a lot of care taken inside the correctional centres and I think the fact that the Commissioner’s moved so quickly given this report today, shows how seriously QCS does take it,” he said.