COVID-19: large prison outbreak in central Poland

The Rzeczpospolita daily reports that the largest outbreak of COVID-19 in a Polish prison since the start of pandemic has swept through the Garbalin Penitentiary following a breach of procedures for isolating potentially infected inmates.

An employee who was supposed to investigate the potential route of infection was wrongfully reprimanded for tracing the chain of infection early on in the outbreak.

The prison, located in the Lodz province, central Poland, has recorded at least 82 infected convicts within just a few days.

The spokeswoman for the Central Board of the Prison Service, Lt. Col. Elżbieta Krakowska, confirms that the outbreak in the Garbalin Penitentiary is the largest to have hit a Polish prison since the start of the pandemic. She also added that every inmate working in the prison's production hall has become infected.

Rzeczpospolita reports that the virus managed to spread to other prisoners too since the prison's management violated internal procedures for isolating patients.

"The issue came up because the officer who was supposed to investigate the path of infection was told to limit the checks to the production hall only. When he disagreed, the case was taken away from him," writes the daily.

According to the newspaper, the outbreak most likely began with a 58-year-old inmate who arrived at the prison on January 21st together with six other convicts. They were distributed in different cells and penitentiary wards and could have had contact with about 25 prisoners.

The 58-year-old was diagnosed with COVID-19 five days later. He was immediately transported to a COVID ward in Bytom, where he died from the disease on January 30th.

Currently, 185 inmates are infected. Nearly half of that figure consists of inmates from the Garbalin Prison.