COVID-19 cases rise in St Catherine prison

The Department of Correctional Services (DCS) has confirmed an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases among the inmate population at the St Catherine Adult Correctional Centre in recent weeks.

In a statement yesterday, the DCS said there are 74 positive cases among the inmate population while one inmate has been hospitalised. Two staff members at the institution have tested positive for the virus and are now in isolation.

Additionally, there are three positive cases of the virus at Tower Street Adult Correctional Centre, two at South Camp Juvenile Remand and one at Hilltop Juvenile correctional centres.

The Medical Services Unit, the DCS said, continues to work hard and has been “unrelenting” in the fight against the pandemic.

Data from the unit show that since the onset of the pandemic in March 2020, 332 inmates/wards and 290 staff members have recovered from the virus. Eleven deaths have been recorded consisting of seven inmates and four officers.

The DCS said it has implemented additional COVID-19 measures to reduce and prevent the spread of the virus. The measures follow published guidelines from the World Health Organization, the Centres for Disease Control, and the Ministry of Health and Wellness.

Institutions were placed on lockdown, cloth masks have been prohibited and surgical masks distributed to inmates and officers, and rotation of officers have been suspended in some instances. In addition, all inmates and staff of the DCS have been offered vaccines on multiple occasions.

The DCS said it will continue to enforce measures previously implemented including temperature checks for all persons entering the institutions, handwashing and sanitisation stations, along with the provision of thermometers and sanitizing agents at all institutions. The DCS, in collaboration with the Public Health Department, continues swabbing exercises within the institutions.

Up to October 22, the DCS said that 8.7 per cent of inmates from the adult correctional institutions were fully vaccinated and 1.9 per cent were partially vaccinated.

Meanwhile, 23.3 per cent of the staff members have been fully vaccinated and 8.3 per cent are partially vaccinated. The Medical Services Unit said it continues to collaborate with the Public Health Department to conduct vaccination drives within the facilities.

The leadership of the DCS, according to the statement, said it continues to encourage inmates and staff members to vaccinate against the novel coronavirus.

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