Published Friday, July 3, 2020

First case of prisoner infected
with covid-19 in the country

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Authorities ordered quarantine to five prisoners who shared a cell with another prisoner who tested positive for covid-19, announced the Ministry of Justice.

According to the ministry, the infected prisoner had previously been taken to a public hospital in San José, due to health problems. A diagnostic test was applied, which confirmed the virus.

The guidelines in these cases are to keep prisoners in isolation in individual spaces and under the strict supervision of the ministry's medical staff.

"They will remain isolated from the rest of the prisoners," said the ministry in its statement. "In the case of the infected person, he will be isolated for 18 days, while the people with whom he had direct contact will remain in isolation for 14 days, waiting for the results of the analyses that were applied to them."

According to the guideline, police officers and prison employees who have been in contact with this group of prisoners will have to wear the protective equipment recommended by the Ministry of Health at all times.

In another case, the Ministry of Health ordered the preventive 14-day isolation for one of the modules of the Jorge Arturo Montero prison, known as La Reforma, in the San Rafael District in Alajuela Province. A prisoner tested positive for covid-19 sending the place into immediate quarantine and isolation from the rest of the prison.

According to the ministry, after the man was released from jail, he felt symptoms of the disease, so he requested the diagnosis test resulting in positive.

“We do not know if the contagion occurred while the person was out of jail; the incubation period must be taken into account, so we immediately activate the preventive care guidelines," said Diana Posada, representative of the ministry.

The ministry ordered to disinfect the bedroom where the prisoner was jailed, suspend transfers, enter and exits of people in that area, carry out strict control of the prisoners, give the prisoners medical protection supplies, increase hygiene measures and carry out a review of the health status of all the prisoners who were in that module, including the application of the covid-19 diagnostic tests.

Specialists from both ministries are tracking the people who had contact with the former prisoner.

What have you heard about prisoners infected with covid-19 in the jails of your country?
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