Prison COVID-19 cases at 37

Commissioner of Corrections at Her Majesty's Prison, Mr. Terrance James
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By Loshaun Dixon

The total number of COVID-19 cases at Her Majesty’s Prison is now at 37, with 26 new cases confirmed on Thursday.

Speaking on the outbreak at the prison, Chief Medical Officer Dr Hazel Laws, noted that they identified the first case on June 9; on June 11, eight additional inmates were found to be positive, two more on June 15, and 26 cases on June 17th, for a total of 37.

“These cases have all been notified. These cases are being monitored as we speak, and these cases have been separated from the General Population.”

She said that they will “continue contact tracing in the prison, and that other inmates who are experiencing symptoms will be tested, so there will be serial testing of inmates in Her Majesty’s Prison, so that we can pick up additional cases at the soonest”.

“All the cases are in isolation – four of the implicated cells have been and the others will be, professionally sanitized.”

Commissioner of Corrections Terrance James said the management and staff of Her Majesty’s Prison have worked hard to protect the health of the staff and residents since the announcement of the first confirmed COVID case in March 2020.

He said the risk factor of wide scale virus spread was always possible at the correctional facility.

“It was with this risk factor in mind that we implemented a number of measures to safeguard the health of prison personnel and residents early.

Commissioner of Corrections at Her Majesty’s Prison, Mr. Terrance James

“We were quite successful in preventing the introduction of the virus in the prison for over a year and two months.”

James said a mass testing exercise was conducted on June 15, when members of the National COVID task force and representatives from the Ministry of Health visited Her Majesty’s Prison.

He noted that only the male block in the prison had been affected.

The Prison head assured that the staff members who had been identified had been placed in quarantine and tested, and that most of the staff have returned negative thus far.

“We moved swiftly to protect the health of personnel and residents. I want to assure the general public we are doing everything that we can to safeguard the health of all concerned at Her Majesty’s Prison.”

He said an isolation area has been established where affected residents have been placed, and have identified additional space to house those who need to be removed from the population.

“All the prisoners in isolation are receiving good care so far, and we have upgraded their intake of supplements”

James added that at this point in time, there is no consideration or plan to have an early release or to move prisoners from the facility, but that is something that can be up for discussion.

“We have looked at challenges we have in removing the inmates from Her Majesty’s Prison. They are human beings and we will treat them like human beings.”

He said if they were to transfer inmates, staff must be with them as well.

“If we take a high number of inmates out of the prison, we have to split our staff to accommodate to provide security at these institutions. We think that we are able to isolate these 37 inmates inside the prison with the spacing that we have so far.”


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