Her Majesty’s Cayman Islands Prison Service COVID-19 Update, 27 January 2022
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Her Majesty’s Cayman Islands Prison Service (HMCIPS) has made it a priority to safeguard the persons who are in its custody and care. HMCIPS Management and Staff continue to work tirelessly with the support of health care practitioners to reduce the impact of Covid-19 while balancing the management, safety, and security of our community.
“As we have seen a surge in Covid-19 positive cases in the community, it was inevitable that at some point, HMCIPS would also be impacted. At this time, we can confirm that there are currently 31 prisoners (1 Female and 30 Males) and 16 staff members who have tested positive for COVID-19,” notes HMCIPS Acting Director Daniel Greaves.
“While there are a number of challenges with managing any communicable disease within an establishment such as a prison, our response has had to be fluid and evolving to match the situation. Over the last two years, we have accordingly implemented a number of measures to properly manage and safeguard our prisoners and staff”. Mr. Greaves continues:
Explaining that prisoners participate in mass testing daily to detect any positive cases, Mr. Greaves adds that the following mitigation measures are in place to manage the risk of transmission, enable early identification of positive cases, and allow persons who test positive to receive the best possible treatment:
- Prisoners who test positive are moved to an isolation wing where they have access to regular checks and care, as necessary, from the nurse(s) on-staff. The current isolation wing can safely accommodate 35 socially distant prisoners. As persons test negative, they will be moved off the isolation unit.
- Plans are already in place to safely accommodate prisoners in an additional isolation unit should the number of positive cases increase.
- Prisoners who are categorized as low to medium risk inmates would also be kept on the isolation wing, if they are positive. At times, prisoners may need to be kept at High-risk units when there are serious internal breaches against Prison Regulations and Discipline.
- Where a prisoner’s symptoms require a higher level of care, the health care staff will make a recommendation for hospitalisation, working in conjunction with Public Health officials.
- Prisoners with particular underlying health conditions that place them at higher risk are monitored more closely by nursing staff.
To date, only one prisoner has required hospitalisation.”
The Registered Nurse assigned to HMCIPS, Nurse Winslett Blake, comments, “There is a continuum of medical care for prisoners which includes the option of transporting them when hospitalisation is required. Prisoners’ health is something we take very seriously. In the event that a prisoner is in need of hospitalisation, they will have access to appropriate hospital facilities and medical practitioners.”
To reduce interaction between the prison community and the outside community we have ceased social visits and encouraged our prisoners to conduct virtual visits instead via social media to keep in touch with family and loved ones. If a visitor requires entry to HMCIPS for any reason they must have a negative lateral flow test (LFT); masks and hand sanitisation is also required before entry to the prison. All HMCIPS staff and prisoners are required to wear masks at all times. Prisoners required to leave the premises for attendance at court or transportation to the hospital are also LFT tested beforehand, if required.
HMCIPS staff are required to do observed lateral flow tests (LFTs) daily before they enter the prison to report to work. Any staff member who tests positive is then required to comply with Public Health guidelines of confirmation testing and the required isolation period. To ensure adequate staffing of the prison, management enlists healthy personnel to work extra hours to keep the service operational. Thankfully, since the start of community spread only two staff members have required hospitalisation, both of whom have since returned to duties.”
In addition to the mitigation and prevention processes that HMCIPS has implemented to reduce the spread of COVID -19, in September 2020 the HMCIPS embarked on a deep cleaning chemical program to Nanotize the entire HMCIPS compound. This process is scheduled to be repeated in February 2022.
The Prison Service continues to encourage staff and prisoners to do their part by having their vaccination and or booster shots completed. Current statistics show approximately 91.42% of staff and 60% of prisoners are fully vaccinated with at least two doses of the vaccine.
Issued by: Government Information Services (GIS, CIG)