Sat | Dec 5, 2020

Correctional centres get thermal scanners, COVID-19 protocol for personnel

Published:Friday | March 27, 2020 | 4:01 PM
Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of National Security, Matthew Samuda - File photo

The Department of Correctional Services, as part of its ongoing COVID-19 mitigation plan, has procured thermal scanners to assist with the prevention and/or detection of the virus among staff, inmates and children in its care.

“In light of the growing concern to keep the virus at bay, the DCS has placed an order for 40 new digital thermal scanners and delivery is expected within the first week of April. This is a part of the strategic push to acquire protective gears and body temperature scanners,” said Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of National Security, Matthew Samuda, in a statement today.

He added that hand-washing basins and hand sanitisers have been placed at the entrance of each facility.

“I have organised with my team at the Ministry and senior officials from the DCS, digital meetings to conduct a weekly review of the conditions in each institution, to ensure that our plans are being actualised,” he continued.

It was noted that the department’s COVID-19 contingency plan was approved by senior officials and is being implemented by Director of Medical Services, Dr Donna-Michelle Royer-Powe, and her medical team at each institution.

Royer-Powe says sourcing thermal scanners locally has been a major challenge, however the department should receive additional supplies from overseas. 

“We were only able to source two scanners locally and those were sent to Tower Street Adult Correctional Centre and Horizon Adult Remand Centre. The Ministry and DCS have identified a source and as a matter of urgency we should have thermal scanners operational in all our institutions shortly.”

Meanwhile, correctional officers are being encouraged to wear casual clothing while making their way to work, then change into uniforms before assuming duties, as the virus can be transmitted through clothes.

The officers on parade and at work are instructed to keep a distance of three feet from each other and are prohibited from gathering in crowds.

The department says its medical team hosted sensitisation sessions and distributed educational materials in the form of booklets and pamphlets, with information from the Ministry of Health & Wellness to all levels of staff as well as inmates, regarding preventative measures and how to treat with suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19. 

It adds that provisions are also being made to implement tele-counselling in the institutions as a modern form of receiving therapy through a secured platform, which would facilitate conversations between a counsellor and the client.

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