Bordelais Correctional Facility (BCF) has announced that seven inmates have come down with COVID-19.
And concerned inmates posted several videos on social media regarding the development.
Director of Corrections, Hilary Herman, told St Lucia Times that as of Friday, health officials confirmed the seven cases.
As a result, he disclosed that all day on Saturday Health Ministry officials were at the BCF doing contact tracing and testing.
Herman explained that the inmates that are COVID-19 positive are in the isolation unit.
He said the BCF will continue to cooperate with the Ministry of Health to deal with the situation as it develops.
Herman said he is aware that inmates have posted videos on social media regarding the situation.
“As you would know, there’s a lot of anxiety and some people are scared – so are the inmates and they are expressing that,” he told St Lucia Times.
But contrary to claims the inmates have made in the videos, Herman asserted that BCF officials have informed the inmates.
“They all have masks, but as you can see in those videos, the inmates are not wearing masks,” Herman observed.
“The risk to those inmates has always been low because there’s no movement in and out of that unit,” he stated.
It was a reference to the remand unit which currently houses 143 inmates.
Herman said with the help of the Ministry of Health, officials are testing staff and inmates of the BCF.
He recalled that the first COVID-19 case at the facility was a Correctional Officer from the kitchen.
Therefore, he stated that health officials tested all the inmates that worked there.
According to Herman, the seven recent positive cases that the BCF has recorded worked in the kitchen.
“They came from the kitchen and they are now in the isolation unit,” he told St Lucia Times.
“We did a lot of deep cleaning in the kitchen,” Herman recalled.
However he said it is an area of ‘high movement’.
As a result, the Director of Corrections said the Ministry of Health is continuing its contact tracing.
One video on social media shows a group of inmates with one of their number speaking.
The inmate identifies himself by name and indicates that he on remand.
“A Coronavirus outbreak is now on the rise,” the inmate declares.
He asserts that the authorities have not informed them what is taking place and says he is concerned.
“We can just clearly see movement of people – people going around with Corona gear,” the inmate stated.
“We as prisoners, they never came to teach us any precautionary measures,” he says.
Headline photo: Screen grab from video