Prison Commissioner tests positive for COVID-19

Prison Commissioner tests positive for COVID-19
Corrections Commissioner Charles Murphy

An inmate who tested positive for the virus on Sept. 23 remains in isolation

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Bahamas Department of Correctional Services Commissioner Charles Murphy has tested positive for COVID-19, according to Minister of National Security Marvin Dames.

Dames advised during a report to the nation on his ministry’s work during the COVID-19 pandemic, that Murphy was unable to participate after learning of his diagnosis.

He said Murphy was informed last week that he had been exposed to the virus, during “a matter not related to the prison”.

Dames said the prison commissioner received his test results yesterday.

According to the minister, Murphy was asymptomatic and is in “good spirits”.

Asked whether Murphy was at the prison throughout the week, after being contacted about his exposure, Dames said: “We will now leave it up to the health officials to do their work to determine who he would have come in contact with. We await that.”

He continued: “Obviously, we will take some precautions ahead to ensure that we are all safe, but certainly [there’s] not a risk here at the ministry.

“…As far as the [Bahamas Department of] Corrections is concerned, in his office, we’ll have to look at that.

“We are taking some precautionary measures even before we hear from the health officials.”

Presenting on Murphy’s behalf, Dames advised that of the 1,489 inmate population, two inmates have tested positive for COVID-19 since the pandemic began.

He said the initial case was recorded in August while an inmate was receiving medical care outside of the prison for an unrelated illness.

The inmate has since been treated, and re-tested with a negative result.

The second inmate, who tested positive on September 23, has been isolated and is being managed by the facility’s medical team.

He did not indicate how the inmate contracted the virus.

Dames noted that two areas in the facility have been designated for COVID-19 cases, with one purposed for suspected cases and the other for confirmed cases.

He advised that of the staff complement of 750 officers, 19 civilians and 84 recruits, 29 people have tested positive for COVID-19 to date.

He added 13 people were in quarantine as a precaution.

To date, the department has spent $19,975 on COVID-19 mitigation efforts, of which $15,475 was spent on deep cleaning and $4,500 on mask production.

Dames noted that more than 8,000 cloth masks have been made by the Inmates’ Enterprise Unit, and 350 donated by Janaees’ Uniform Centre have been distributed.