Snr Supt William Nurse head of the Tobago police has confirmed that a man arrested and detained at the Crown Point police station tested positive for covid19 on Monday morning.
However, he said there is no facility designated for covid19-positive patients who are in police custody, so the man will be isolated at the station.
“There is nowhere to transfer the prisoner – we are stuck," he said on Monday.
"We are looking at all the legal ramifications there are. We are looking at all the health protocols that must be followed and we will take care of them.
“We are working out everything, some we haven’t worked out just yet."
He said this isn’t the first time a detainee at the police station tested positive for covid19. He said the police have formulated a plan to work around this issue.
“One other prisoner tested positive for the virus in the past while in police custody and we dealt with it. We had to isolate the person – he wasn’t transferred to any institution.
"We have a special internal protocol that we use. I’m not going to divulge too much.”
Nurse said the police are in communication with a health care technical officer.
"We have to now wait on the health facility to determine what the level of care he requires is. If they say he’s not going to be hospitalised, then we have to make a determination one way or another.”
Gideon Dickson, president of the TTPS Social and Welfare Association, told Newsday he is aware of the issue. He said the man was arrested for failure to make a court payment. He said the family is expected to make the payment and he would be out of the station before the end of the day.
“What was explained to me is he tested for covid19 during the day and he got back his results, and what I was made to understand is he contracted covid19 sometime in the past and remnants of it stayed with him, so it was not contagious."
He added, "Consistent to what is happening in Trinidad, if a person is in police custody and they tested for covid19 and are in fact positive, the protocol we have in place should apply in Tobago. If the person has not been charged yet, depending on the nature of the offence, that person could be released, and they could proceed against that person in other ways. Those are things we considered how we manage policing during a pandemic.
“The covid19 patient should not be on the compound of the station, because the officers are exposed to a greater risk.”
Attempts to reach Secretary for the Division of Health, Wellness and Family Development Tracy Davidson Celestine and Tobago’s acting county medical officer of health Dr Tiffany Hoyte were unsuccessful.