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Jul 3, 2020

No Risk for Cops Who Had Contact with Patient 24.

Chester Williams

There is an update about COVID-19 case number twenty-four in southern Belize. He’s one of the fishermen detained back in June for illegally fishing off the coast of Placencia within a marine reserve. The Honduran received a positive test almost three weeks later and that caused some alarm for persons who may have come in contact with him, including several police officers. While the officers were using personal protective gears there were still concerns that they were not swabbed. On Thursday, Commissioner Williams told the media about what transpired.

 

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police

“It is our standard protocol that whenever our officers come in contact with any person, particularly those who may have entered the country illegally, that they wear their PPEs. In this case, the officers who came in contact with the Honduran all wore their PPEs with a view to protect themselves. Notwithstanding that though, it is of paramount importance to do what is necessary to give officers and their families and the general public of Placencia that sense of safety that these officers are safe. So, following the positive results of these persons, we contacted the Ministry of Health, as you know they are the authority to determine who is to be swabbed. And we had requested that the Ministry of health representative go to Placencia or send for the police officers who may have come in contact with these individuals so that they may have been interviewed and determine if any would require to be swabbed. I got a call today from the officer commanding Placencia who informed me that such request has still not yet been done and complied with by the Ministry of Health. I called the Minister of Health this morning and I expressed to him my concern where the officers are involved and requested his intervention so that the necessary swabbing and interviews are done with these officers because the concern is real. So, he assured me that he would address the matter with the DHS to ensure that the interviews and swabbing are done. So, we will be waiting to see what happens from here.”

 

And if there is still alarm – Director of Health Services says fear not! He spoke about the matter today on Ask the Experts webcast saying that the contact was over a month ago so he didn’t think the swabs were necessary. If those officers didn’t fall ill at the initial contact, testing them at day twenty-eight is not going to really make any scientific sense by now, said the DHS.  Manzanero says that he received a report from the public health officer in the area and the mapping exercise shows that the officers who did have contact were not high risk. 


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