Jamaican Corrections Observing Protocols To Limit Spread Of COVID-19 In Prisons– Minister Samuda.

Photo: Jamaica Department of Correctional Services. Even behind bars life goes on as normal, and prisoners are especially aware of the dangers of Coronavirus since they live so close to each other.
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KINGSTON, Jamaica–October 8th.2020–Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of National Security, Senator the Hon. Matthew Samuda, says that next week members of the public will be advised of further plans by the Ministry to control the spread of the coronavirus in correctional facilities.

“We are currently looking to deal with the most vulnerable and those living with comorbidities within the correctional facilities and we will outline an approach in short order”, Senator Samuda said.

The statement follows a visit to two of the largest facilities within the Department of Correctional Services (DCS), the Horizon Remand Centre and the Tower Street Adult Correctional Centre. During the visit, Senator Samuda and Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. Christopher Tufton, observed the implementation of protocols that were established by the Health Ministry to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

According to Samuda, since March and despite infrastructural constraints, the DCS has managed to implement protocols stipulated by the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and the Ministry of Health Wellness, that serve to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

“What we’ve implemented follows a checklist established by these organizations, which we would have successfully consolidated”, the Senator said, as he commended the DCS for its response to COVID-19 so far. “Despite infrastructural challenges”, he continued, “we’ve managed to put in place more wash areas, sanitization areas and designated isolation points to prevent further community spread of the virus”.

Meanwhile, Dr. Donna-Michelle Roye-Powe, Director of Medical Services at the DCS, said inmates have taken the threat of the virus seriously, by barring other inmates who reside on other blocks from entering shared spaces. “Some inmates have put up signs on blocks in quarantine and question other inmates who want to enter their space about their whereabouts”, Dr. Roye-Powe noted.

She pointed out that the DCS conducts random testing for COVID-19, which is why her office was able to detect positive cases of the virus, as the inmates who tested positive for the coronavirus were all asymptomatic and did not present symptoms such as high fever, dry coughs or sore throat.

“It’s not that people have gone sick why we were able to detect the virus, it’s because of vigilance. This is why we randomly test inmates as temperature checks are unable to detect the virus among persons who are asymptomatic and this is the case for those who were tested positive for the virus”, Dr. Royer-Powe emphasized.

October 5th Dr. Royer-Powe stated: “With Jamaica at the stage of community spread and many persons being asymptomatic, our responsibility as medical professionals within the Correctional Service has become much more preemptive in nature, it simply means that we take nothing for granted.”

The Doctor indicated that, “ in September alone, testing for COVID 19 saw almost 300 persons inclusive of Correctional staff and inmates being swabbed the last one being at the Tower Street Adult where we swabbed over 100 persons,” she concluded.


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