Friday 3 July, 2020

Cayman: 2 cases of COVID-19 confirmed in the prison

Two prisoners at HMP Northward have tested positive for coronavirus, Her Majesty’s Cayman Islands Prison Service (HMCIPS) has confirmed.

Both men are asymptomatic and are isolated alone. The results follow a prison-wide screen testing programme, which began earlier this month and was available to all inmates and staff. Test results from some staff and prisoners remain outstanding as of Tuesday, May 19.

The two prisoners have been held in the remand block of HMP Northward ahead of trial since late last year. All other prisoners in this block have returned negative test results for COVID-19.

“Staff and inmates are understandably anxious about the news but they have been assured that we are taking all the necessary steps to test, track and isolate cases. This latest incident, while unfortunate, does however, indicate that testing everyone at the prison despite no one having symptoms was the right thing to do,” commented Prison Director, Steven Barrett.

“We will continue to work closely with the Public Health Department to determine the best way forward from here. The health and wellbeing of staff and prisoners remains our absolute primary focus”, Mr Barrett continued.

HMP Northward is now fully isolated from the public, and its internal blocks are isolated from each other, while the prison population and staffing group are retested. 

Robust hygiene procedures, social distancing protocols and restricted staff access to the prison have been in place at both of Cayman‘s prisons since March 2020. 

These measures include prisoners being required to isolate for 14 days in the admission wing prior to entering the main prison population, as well as the early release of non-violent prisoners to enable greater social distancing.

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