Scarborough Prison in Tobago.

A total of 18 prisoners and prison officers from the Scarborough Prison in Tobago have contracted COVID-19 and were being brought to Trinidad last evening to be treated at the new Claxton Bay facility. The 18 cases from the prison system made up 24 confirmed cases on the island, which took the overall rate of infection for Thursday to 76.

The statistics were released by the Ministry of Health yesterday as it also revealed there were two more COVID-19 deaths which brought the total fatalities up to 86, just four shy of 90.

On Wednesday it was revealed that one inmate at the Scarborough Prison had tested positive for the virus, but in less than 24 hours that figure grew to 13 inmates and five prison officers.

These brought the total active cases up to 1,801.

However, 66 people were discharged from the ministry’s care as the total number listed as recovered increased to 3,076.

The total number of people to be infected locally now stands at 4,963.

The total people in home self-isolation was 1,693 while 173 people were in state quarantine facilities.

Meanwhile, the ministry is in the process of developing a rehabilitation unit for COVID-19 patients, especially those with what is called Long COVID, as revealed by the Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram during a virtual press conference. The decision, host of CNC3’s Ask the Doctor programme, Dr Joel Teelucksingh said was “excellent.”

“Perhaps 12 weeks or more after the initial onslaught of the COVID-19 when you’re ostensibly feeling better- you are left with these long haul symptoms. So there are physical and psychological long-term effects and I think that failure to recognise these would definitely impact on the social services and the productivity of these younger patients when they are expected to return to the workplace,” he said.

He noted that the unit should be more than just a type of outpatient care.

“It should also be equipped with certain blood tests, certain lab and radiological investigations available- perhaps in conjunction with one of the tertiary institutions locally and appropriate treatment can then be administered,” he said.