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COVID outbreak at HMP Dodds ‘under control’, only 7 active cases


COVID outbreak at HMP Dodds ‘under control’, only 7 active cases
Her Majesty’s Prison Dodds (FILE)

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Barbados’ largest coronavirus (COVID-19) cluster has been brought under control at Her Majesty’s Prison Dodds.

At its peak, the cluster comprised 363 infected people – 85 prison officers, 261 inmates and 17 staff members.

A media statement from the COVID Communications Unit said that today, only seven COVID-19-positive people remain to be medically discharged.

“Operations at the prison have so returned to normalcy, that virtual court will resume from the prison effective today, Monday 1st February.”

Minister of Home Affairs Wilfred Abrahams, Superintendent of Prisons Lt Col John Nurse and Dr Carl Ward, who was the Medical Officer of Health responsible for care and health systems at the prison during the outbreak, have expressed satisfaction.

The outbreak at the prison started on December 31, last year with the diagnosis of a prison officer.

According to the statement, it was brought under control through an “aggressive campaign” led by Manager of Isolation Facilities Dr Corey Forde and Ward. This included extensive sanitisation of the prison, preventive scanning, testing, quarantining, and isolation of prison officers, civilian staff and inmates at Dodds.

Additionally, the medical facility at the prison has been transformed into a full tertiary level COVID-19 treatment facility with ventilation capacity.

Nurse said prison leadership implemented “observance and practice of the 4Es, engagement, education, encouragement and enforcement among all staff members and inmates”.

“Our success in this instance was based on the persistence and dedication of our staff who were continuously on site for 15 days, from December 21. In the circumstances, the team at the prison mounted a heroic effort to maintain the prison and its standards during this difficult period,” he said.

Nurse expressed gratitude to the medical professionals, the Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF) and the Barbados Defence Force (BDF).

“Operational management and control during the outbreak could not have been achieved without the assistance and cooperation of the BDF and the RBPF who provided man-power to supplement depleted shifts.”

Abrahams echoed Nurse’s sentiments. He said that the support given to the Prison Service by members of the RBPF and BDF ensured that the security and integrity of the prison were never compromised. (PR)