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the Department of Marine Resources and Fisheries building at Glen Road to house COVID-19 prisoners in Tobago.

Loyse Vincent

Health officials are currently retrofitting the Department of Marine Resources and Fisheries building at Glen Road to house COVID-19 prisoners in Tobago.

The move comes after there was a COVID-19 outbreak at the Tobago prison last week.

Following the discovery of one positive COVID-19 inmate, two days later thirteen prisoners and five prisons officers tested positive for the virus. There are currently 45 prisoners and 60 prison officers assigned to the Tobago Prison, which is the only one on the island. The prisoners have since been transported to the Claxton Bay Prisons Facility.

Confirmation of the temporary facility came from Tobago’s County Medical Officer of Health Dr Tiffany Hoyte, during a COVID-19 briefing yesterday.

“When everything is put in place and it has officially been declared officially a building that can be used as a temporary facility for the prisons going forward it will be used to relocate any prisoners that have tested positive for COVID-19.”

She said the prisoners have been placed in isolation at the facility and are reportedly doing well.

During the briefing it was also discussed that the largest number of infections on the island was recorded after the outbreak of the Tobago prison. The statistics also show that the rate of Tobago’s COVID-19 cases is highest among persons between the ages of 25 and 29 years-old followed by persons between the ages of 30 and 34, Epidemiology Officer Bridgette Smith said.

“In the 25-39-year-old age group, we see more persons being affected with 35 men being infected versus 25 women. Women however dominate in the under 25- year age group.”

She said research also indicates that this is related to a number of cases in the elderly population as they have had elderly COVID-19 positive cases and they do not leave home. She said there is a high level of “risk to the elderly population when younger persons are not being as careful as they should.”

According to Smith COVID-19 mapping of the island revealed that most of the cases were found in Tobago West, which runs from part of Scarborough down to Crown Point.

“We see that the majority of cases reside in the northeast end of the island. Northside is not spared at all we some cases scattered on the north and east of Tobago.”

Most of the cases were concentrated in Scarborough which is the island’s only identified hotspot.

She said, “We see Scarborough presently carrying 31 cases.”

This is followed by 13 cases in the Canaan/Bon Accord area. The Epidemiological Officer emphasised however that the cases reflected in the mapping exercise only reflect the positive COVID-19 cases and do not include the “hundreds of contacts that were identified from each case.”

Statistics also revealed that the majority of those cases were hypertensive and asthmatic. Of the latest 103 samples tested there are no new cases in Tobago. However, there are 35 active cases and two deaths. To date, 1,445 samples have been submitted for testing on the island.

1 more COVID-19 death

For the second time this week, the death toll for COVID-19 has risen as an additional death was recorded yesterday bringing the total of fatalities from the virus up to 93.

According to a release by the Ministry of Health, the latest death was an elderly female with “pre-existing medical conditions.”

The ministry also confirmed 11 new cases of the virus, but it noted: “The number of positive cases reported usually reflects the samples taken during the last 3 days and not the last 24 hours.”

Within the last 24 hours, however, samples were taken from 188 people for testing.

Despite the newly confirmed cases, the total number of active cases continued to decrease after 64 people were released from the ministry’s care; five were discharged from public health facilities while 59 were released from home self-isolation as recovered community cases. The number of active cases now stands at 1,661 of which 1,516 were in home self-isolation.