The jail outbreak putting England's smallest county top of Covid infection chart

With a population of just 40,000 people, the number of people testing positive for the virus can substantially impact the overall rate. Credit: PA Images

It might be the smallest county in England but Rutland tops the charts when it comes to infection rates in the country after a coronavirus outbreak in one of its prisons. 

Mass testing is underway at HMP Stocken to identify prisoners and staff with the virus. 

You can see from the below graph the rate of case increases in comparison to the rest of the country. 

The rise in the prison has resulted in the county’s case rates rise well above its East Midlands neighbours. Everywhere apart from Rutland is on the decline.

Figures as of Tuesday, February 9:Rutland - cases last seven days - 199. Cases per 100,000 - 498Nottingham 1095 - 328.9Leicester 1160 - 327.5Derby 799 - 307.8Oadby 163 - 285

The 7 day stats for Monday, February 8 were:

Rutland - cases 159 last 7 days - cases per 100,000 - 385.Nottingham 1113  - 334Leicester 1207 - 340Derby 846 - 328Oadby 173 - 303

Rutland is England's smallest traditional county with a population of just 40,000 people so the relatively small number of people testing positive for the virus can substantially impact the overall infection rate.

Credit: PA Images

In response to the latest figures for the county the Council said:

Safety measures are in place at the prison to limit the spread of Covid-19 and the Council is in communication with the Ministry of Justice, according to Director of Public Health, Mike Sandys.

Mike added that he does not believe prisoners should be prioritised when it comes to the vaccine, unless they are classed as one of the current priority groups for vaccination. 

Speaking to Good Morning Britain on Tuesday, February 9, Former Chief Prosecutor Nazir Afzal says health decisions are not made on character or morals.

Credit: PA Images

But what about prison staff? Geoff Willets from the Midlands Prison Officer Association believes they should be moved up the list of vaccination priorities.

When contacted by ITV News Central, the Ministry of Justice explained the below measures are in place in prison across the country:

  • Routinely testing all staff as well as new prisoners so we can better protect prisoners and those work in our prisons, as well as isolate those who test positive before they show symptoms

  • The roll-out of the vaccine, starting with the most vulnerable according to the priority list set out by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) and in line with the national roll-out for the wider population

They say this is in addition to the Covid safety measures already in place in prisons:

  • Making more Personal Protective Equipment available to staff who come into close contact with offenders, so they can protect themselves and the offenders in their care

  • Creating an additional 1,200 temporary cells and putting in place an effective system in all prisons and youth custody establishments to limit the spread of the disease so people are better able to social distance and we can limit transmission of the virus

  • Temporarily stopping social visits for adult prisoners in England and Wales in line with national restrictions. However, visits for compassionate reasons, visits to children in custody and legal visits which can’t take place remotely will continue