Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith is assuring that a police officer who tested positive for the COVID-19 virus did not come into contact with any of his colleagues as he is currently on vacation.
The officer, who is attached to a police station in south Trinidad, recently returned from New York and is now being treated at the Couva Hospital, which is one of the two main facilities where COVID patients are being treated.
In a release, Griffith confirmed the officer had tested positive and was granted permission to leave the country during his vacation. The officer left for New York on February 26 and returned to Trinidad on March 18, Griffith said. However, he said contrary to what was being circulated on social media, the officer never made contact with colleagues.
Griffith said on his return home, the officer was met at the Piarco International Airport by a female friend, who took him to his home. However, the officer later complained of feeling unwell and was taken to a doctor on March 19. The officer returned home after he was treated, but later complained of body pains and was taken to the health facility in the area where he lives. The officer was attended to and taken by ambulance to the San Fernando General Hospital.
Based on the findings of the doctors at the hospital, the officer was then transferred to the Couva Hospital where he is now being treated. He received confirmation from the Ministry of Health that he had tested positive. His female friend also checked into the Caura Hospital where she was tested and is now awaiting results.
The TTPS also learnt that the brother of the officer has placed himself into self-quarantine because he had contact with him.
Griffith, who had himself gone into self-quarantine after recent travel, said the TTPS has initiated certain protocols for the COVID-19 pandemic and has circulated this to all officers. The TTPS is also working with the Ministry of Health to ensure all protocols are in place to deal with the crisis.
Contacted yesterday, TTPS Social and Welfare Association president Insp Gideon Dickson applauded the officer for being responsible enough to self-quarantine and stay within protocols. He assured that the catchment of contact was very little because of the officer’s responsible actions when he turned from his trip to the US.
Also asked if officers we’re objecting to carrying out their duties due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Dickson replied: “No, they are all reporting for duties as usual. But there are certain protocols and policies in place for them.
“For instance, we have minimised face to face contact with members of the public, so in some cases not anyone can now just walk into any charge room of the police station.”
Dickson also disclosed that shift hours are being adjusted by divisions heads so that officers wouldn’t be “burned out”.