Wolston Correctional Centre acts swiftly to combat COVID-19

With the COVID-19 pandemic spreading across the globe, officers from Wolston Correctional Centre have been praised for their swift action in responding to the introduction of the virus into the centre last month.

On Thursday 26 March, Commissioner Martin announced a stage 4 lockdown of Wolston Correctional Centre following an officer testing positive to COVID-19 after working three shifts at the centre.

This lockdown allowed the isolation and containment of prisoners while Queensland Health undertook contact tracing and identified close contacts. It was determined that no prisoners were close contacts, and did not require testing, however their health was monitored closely during this period.

The close contacts identified by Queensland Health all tested negative to COVID-19.

After the three-day emergency declaration expired, the stage 4 restrictions were lifted following advice from Queensland Health and the centre reverted to Stage 3 restrictions like all other correctional centres Statewide.

Commissioner Peter Martin APM said that while the situation at Wolston was a very difficult set of circumstances to manage, QCS would continue to evolve and modify planning to battle COVID-19.

‘We as an organisation learned a lot from the Wolston case. It demonstrated to us the importance of planning, the importance of our response and I am confident in our abilities as a maturing organisation that delivered the best outcome in a unique situation,” Commissioner Martin said.

General Manager, Scott Collins said that the response by officers and the leadership team to minimise the spread of the virus was swift and effective, reaffirming the QCS’ commitment to the safety of our officers and those who are in our centres.

“We have planning in place for these types of event, but an event of this scale is something we haven’t ever seen before,” Chief Superintendent Collins said.

“As the test from the officer came back as positive to COVID-19, we moved to stage 4 restrictions, effectively shutting down the whole facility to minimise the impact that it would have on our officers and prisoners.”

“After contract tracing and testing was done, we were able to move back to stage 3 restrictions and continue our structured days and important work of rehabilitating the prisoners at the centre.”

“I want to thank all the officers of Wolson for their professionalism and willingness to respond quickly to this rapidly evolving situation.”

QCS’ response to COVID-19 is being managed state wide by a State Corrections Operations Centre and the department remains committed and agile and continues to plan to reduce the risks of COVID-19 being introduced into its centres.

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