File picture: A Prison officer serves food at the Maximun Security Prison in Arouca.

For the first time in the history of T&T’s prison system, prison officers are now temporarily assigned to cooking food for inmates.

This is an attempt to keep the rest of the prison population safe from the COVIID-19 virus that penetrated the Maximum Security Prison in Arouca in the past two weeks.

As it stands, up to press time last evening (Monday), 68 inmates tested positive for the virus. The inmates represented a small fraction of the 222 inmates and 12 officers who were swabbed last week Thursday at the prison.

Speaking with the Guardian Media, acting Commissioner of Prisons, Dennis Pulchan said he commends the officers for their cooperation, “For the first time officers are cooking for the inmates. My events management team is washing wares and cooking food for them.”

“We are essential services and we serve the nation prisons. I am very proud of the contribution of my officers,” Pulchan said.

Asked if results were still outstanding, Pulchan replied “yes,” adding that the results for the 12 officers who were tested haven’t yet been received.

“I sent my team to meet with the doctor to discuss matters,” Pulchan said.

With the 68 who have tested positive and the pending results, Pulchan said the COVID-19 positive inmates will be kept in a designated area of the prison for their full 14-day quarantine.

“When the 14 days are up we will have them retested and once negative they will be returned to their normal cells.”

Over the weekend November 6 to November 8, 18 prisoners from the MSP tested positive and were relocated to the Claxton Bay Correctional Facility for quarantine.