COVID-19 positive prison officer


HMP north

(CNS): Prison officer tested positive for COVID-19 in what could now be a third separate case of community-acquired coronavirus unrelated to the original North Side outbreak or the school case George Town Primary. Prison director Steve Barrett told CNS that inmates are already responding very well to the restrictions that are now being placed on the prison, through no fault of their own, as protocols are rolled out throughout the prison.

The officer who said he did not feel well on his shift yesterday tested positive in prison and is now in isolation at home. Public health is carrying out tests on staff and inmates in the two prisons, where vaccination has been relatively low.

All those who came into direct contact with the staff member yesterday are now in isolation, the prison confirmed. Barrett said the prison service is already implementing preventative measures following recent news of community transmission of COVID-19 to minimize the potential for the virus to spread among the prison population. Activities have been restricted to reduce the movement of people through prisons and outpatient services are canceled.

The prison system is particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 due to the high number of people clustered in a small area, Barrett said, stressing that the priority was to ensure the safety of prisoners and staff “and to ensure the best results. possible for all ”.

Visits are temporarily canceled, but arrangements will be made for detainees to have virtual visits to ensure they can maintain contact with their families. Mask warrants and disinfection protocols are already in place at both prisons, but the Northward and Fairbanks sites will now undergo a Nanotize deep cleaning treatment, which will coat every surface of the prison with a protective layer of nanotechnology that protects against mold and coronaviruses for up to six months.

Although HMP Northward has its own COVID-19 vaccination center, only 33% of inmates are fully vaccinated and 56% have received a dose, which is relatively high compared to other prison populations in other jurisdictions, but it is very low considering Cayman’s national vaccination. rate of over 71%. Barrett said despite access to vaccines, inmates are reluctant to commit, which is complicated by the transient nature of the population.

He explained that vaccinated inmates are released and often replaced with new unvaccinated inmates, which has a constant impact on the rate. However, around 40 inmates are due to receive their second injection today and news of the arrival of the Delta variant has increased interest in the vaccine among inmates, he said.

The rate among staff is higher but still lower than the national rate, with only 57% fully vaccinated and 61% having had at least one injection. There is currently no warrant for frontline workers, including prison officers, although they must deal in isolation with prisoners who have been arrested for illegal landing or have been extradited from other countries.

Government officials have yet to reveal any other cases, as testing and tracing continues on all of the latest incidences of the virus. There are now at least 18 confirmed cases of local transmission, including eight children.

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