As Her Majesty’s Prisons Dodds records more positive cases of COVID-19, the public is being assured that the St. Philip penal institution has adequate capacity for isolation to handle the increased numbers.
Minister of Health and Wellness, Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Bostic, tonight indicated that the latest round of results, which contained 974 tests, produced 84 positive cases, of which 67 were from the prison. The remaining amount represented a combination of locals and visitors who tested positive for the virus.
Responding to questions from the media during the first virtual press conference led by the COVID-19 Health Communications Team, the Minister reiterated that despite the increase in numbers, there was still capacity within the prison facility for isolation.
In addition, he noted that the upgraded medical facility, which was not part of the isolation centre, also had capacity because there were not a large number of sick persons. He further noted that there were persons due for discharge from isolation at HMP Dodds.
“You will recognise that over the next few days there will be inmates at the prison who will be discharged from isolation. So, that is how it is going to be managed in one sense, in that people may come in; people go out of isolation. That is what happens at all isolation facilities,” the Minister explained.
He added that there was ongoing work at the prison to ensure that the positive cases were isolated from the remainder of the population.
“We provided a Public Health Officer, who is there, and there are also persons from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital isolation facility that go daily and take care of these persons. “The team that is working with those inmates, those patients, is a very experienced team,” he said.
Stating that while the condition of inmates was not critical, the Health Minister noted that the large number of persons involved still made it a critical situation.
“It is a prison and that’s why we’ve added additional resources there from other institutions and entities to make sure that we have everything going at the prison as best as we can, at this time,” he said, stressing that giving inmates the best level of care was a priority.
Lieutenant Colonel Bostic stated that inmates were being cared for according to the same measures that were applied throughout the pandemic for those at the Harrison Point facility and Blackman Gollop, when it is stood up.
He reminded the public that the entire prison population was tested for the virus with positive results being returned for some on the first test, and for others on the second test.
Senior Medical Officer, Dr. Anton Best, explained that new cases were still being identified because persons were recently exposed, or were exposed within a 14-day period.
“We are not out of the woods yet …. From the beginning of this outbreak, we expected more inmates to become positive; we expected to detect moreprison officers who are positive,” he said, noting that efforts were being made to identify the positive cases and keep them isolated from those who were negative.
“What you are seeing is a result of these persons previously being exposed ….We are still within that period of possible exposure,” Dr. Best indicated.