COVID-19 Cases Increase in Correctional Institutions

The Department of Correctional Services (DCS) has reported that there has been an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases among the inmate/ward population and staff members in its correctional institutions in recent weeks. 

The DCS notes that it will be implementing additional COVID-19 measures which follow published guidelines from the World Health Organization, (WHO), the Centres for Disease Control, (CDC), and the Ministry of Health and Wellness to reduce and prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. 

This decision comes as the Department notes that 58 positive inmates/wards have currently tested positive for the virus while seven have been hospitalized. With an addition of 38 staff members have tested positive and are now in isolation.  

The DCS notes that as of Saturday, September 18, 2021, the Tower Street Adult Correctional Centre in the first instance will observe no movement initially for seven days, cloth masks will be prohibited and surgical masks will be distributed to inmates and Officers. The rotation of Officers will also be suspended, they will retain their assigned posts for the period to prevent the spread of the virus. 

The DCS assures that the Medical Services Unit continues to work diligently in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Data from the Unit shows that since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, 206 inmates/wards and 228 staff members have recovered from the virus. 

The death count remains at five: two inmates and three officers from the first wave of the virus. Jamaica remains one of the countries with the least amount of cases in its correctional system within the jurisdiction. The DCS notes that the continuation of previously enforce measures will still be implemented, such as temperature checks, handwashing, and sanitization stations along with the provision of thermometers and sanitizing agents at all institutions.