Horizon on lockdown after 5 inmates test COVID-19-positive

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The Department of Correctional Services (DCS) has activated containment protocols with immediate effect at the Horizon Adult Correctional Facility following the confirmation of five COVID-19 cases yesterday.

“We currently can confirm five positive cases from seven tests conducted at the Horizon facility. The entire inmate population has been put on lockdown as we transition from a preventative stance to one of control. As a containment measure, no new admissions will be allowed at the facility, and we have had to advise the chief justice and courts that these positive cases necessitate cancellation of inmate court appointments,” stated Leslie-Ann Brown, director, corporate communications and public relations at the DCS. “Some key operational changes include the continued isolation and quarantine of the known cases, while the two negative test subjects remain in a separate quarantine area as an additional precautionary measure.

Brown said the Kingston and St Andrew (KSA) Health Department has taken the lead in managing the situation at the facility and that health inspectors and a response team will be visiting the facility to meet with the team to assist in managing possible anxiety among the prisoner and staff populations.

“They will also assess the facility’s cleaning procedures and line listing to facilitate contact tracing,” she said.

Also, the required volume of personal protective equipment for staff and inmates have been distributed to the facility in accordance with Ministry of Health and Wellness recommendations.

“We anticipated that it would only be a matter of time before our team members and facilities would be impacted by community spread of the virus, given the current surge in cases across the island,” Commissioner of Corrections Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) Gary Rowe indicated. “Areas have been designated for the isolation and quarantine of inmates confirmed to have the virus and additional modalities implemented to reduce exposure to the wider population. We will continue to observe the protocols as we enforce the lockdown measures and work closely with the KSA Health Department and other key personnel to cauterise the spread.”

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