According to reports, more than 20 prisoners at Her Majesty’s Prison have tested positive for COVID-19.
A number of prison officers have also tested positive for the virus, with two being hospitalized at Mount St. John’s Medical Centre.
The affected prisoners have all been moved to the back of the D Block, and arrangements are being made to move them from the prison and transfer them to another location.
On March 11, 2021 it was reported that there was no COVID-19 after a large portion of the prison population was tested.
It was reported then that Covid-19 test results for about ninety-five percent of the inmates at the Her Majesty’s Prison have returned negative while the other five percent are outstanding.
This is according to Acting Superintendent of Prisons, Jermaine Anthony Jr. who told Observer that the testing of prisoners – spearheaded by the medical officer of the penal institution over the last few days – “has not returned any positive tests…”
But he said that the test results are being revealed in batches.
In addition, Anthony disclosed that 100 of about 250 innates who had already received favorable Covid-19 test results have been vaccinated.
“What we are doing now, we are doing it in phases because you know on advice from the medical experts, there are individuals who succumb to the effects of vaccines with flu-like symptoms and that sort of thing, so we are doing it in phases, so as not to have a situation where we have a large cross-section of the population all having the effects of the vaccine,” he stated.
And to the surprise of many, the program has been “well accepted.”
“We had expectations of people who would be resisting, but so far, we haven’t seen that. We had people lining up to have the vaccine,” he continued.
He also stated that 30 of the 96 prison staffers have also been vaccinated.
“We have officers who have been tested, and we have officers who have been vaccinated. Again, what is happening is they are doing the vaccination process in batches so as not to have everybody coming down with the effects of the vaccine all at once to create a human resource situation,” stated Anthony.
As a consequence, the vaccination of the prison officers has been halted, the acting prison boss said.
Meanwhile, Anthony said that they are still awaiting confirmation for the one inmate who tested positive last week using a rapid antigen test.
“We have not received any final confirmation from the health officials at Mount St Johns in regards to him being confirmed through the PCR testing. What we were advised on was that the rapid antigen test gave a positive result. So, we are still waiting on that. That individual is still being kept in quarantine at Mount St. John’s,” he shared.
Generally, Anthony remarked that the safety of the prisoners and guards is being ensured.
“We’ve been quite successful with the protocols that we have put in place in terms of limiting the amount of traffic in and out of the prison. There was resistance at first, but I think through public education, families and their loved ones, they have come to understand the reasons for such stringent measures,” he added
Meanwhile, Minister of Public Safety, Steadroy ‘Cutie’ Benjamin, is commending the prison authorities for their excellent Covid-19 response. “I am very pleased with the actions taken by the prison authorities in coping with the situation. By their very quick action I’m sure that they will keep everything under firm control,” the Minister stated
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