The management of Her Majesty’s Prison (HMP) moved swiftly to implement measures to protect the health of personnel and residents after members of staff and inmates tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. The HMP recorded its first confirmed case on June 10, after the return of a resident’s test result. The following day, the test results for two (2) members of staff were positive as well.
Commissioner of Corrections Terrance James wants to assure the public that they are doing everything they can to safeguard the health of all concerned. He has been working closely with the National COVID-19 Task Force and has been receiving advice from the Chief Medical Officer in the Ministry of Health on the steps to take to contain the situation. Other staff members were identified, placed in quarantine and tested. Thankfully, their results so far have been negative. An isolation area has also been established inside the prison where affected residents have been placed. At the moment, no items are being accepted into the Prison for residents, according to the Commissioner of Corrections.
“The affected persons are all in a stable condition. The residents in isolation are receiving good care and we have upgraded their intake of supplements. The prison doctor makes regular checks on them and any other inmate who has health-related complaints. I would provide the doctor with regular updates as well,” Commissioner of Corrections James said.
Authorities in the Ministry of Health have been testing both personnel and residents. Testing continued up to Tuesday, June 15, when members of the National COVID-19 Task Force and representatives from the Ministry of Health visited the Prison. While testing has not yet been completed, more than half of the staff and just about half of the residents have been swabbed. As of Wednesday, June 16, 2021, a total of eleven (11) residents and two (2) members of staff had positive results returned for COVID-19.
“The St. Kitts and Nevis Prison is the last prison in the region to be infected with COVID-19. So we have tried our best to keep it out, but we knew the inevitable would have happened. Plus, we only have one cell block at Her Majesty’s Prison, compared to other prisons that might have two or three cell blocks, so that is a challenge for us. Nonetheless, we continued to do what we could to protect the health of the residents here. For example, at the start of this outbreak, we had stopped inmates from going outside the Prison and that was some three weeks ago. This was done to reduce their risk of exposure,” he added.
The management at HMP has also been encouraging personnel and residents to get vaccinated and have facilitated on-site vaccination with the assistance of health officials. So far, just over half of the staff have received a first dose, with about 33% fully vaccinated. Approximately half of the residents have received a first dose, with about 36% fully vaccinated.
Since last year, a number of new measures were implemented at the HMP following the announcement of the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in the Federation. All physical visits to the Prison were suspended and that measure remains in place to this day. Also, a quarantine area was subsequently established where new residents would be housed for fourteen (14) days before being placed with the general population. Persons desirous of finding out about their relatives are encouraged to call 465-2241 and ask to be connected to Her Majesty’s Prison.