File picture: Prisoners get air time at the Maximum Security Prison in Arouca

Officials at the Maximum Security Prison (MSP) are bracing for a second wave of COVID-19 after one inmate tested positive recently.

Guardian Media understands that right after a search at the facility was conducted last week, the case surfaced.

The prisoner was confirmed as positive on Saturday. Prison sources believe the virus penetrated the prison walls via prison officers entering the system to carry out searches.

Acting Prisons Commissioner Dennis Pulchan confirmed the situation yesterday, telling Guardian Media the inmate had since been hospitalised.

“We cannot pinpoint who or where but it seems the spike in the country is infiltrating all areas,” Pulchan added.

Pulchan said the inmate, who was showing symptoms of the disease, was “picked up by my alert officers who had him rushed to the hospital.”

He assured that contact tracing had already begun and tests will be carried out on inmates and officers.

Last November, 260 inmates tested positive for COVID-19.

On November 25, 2020, a strategy was drafted for how inmates with COVID are to be treated and housed for their respective 14-day quarantines while still in the prison system, as the facility that was designated for them became overcrowded due to the increasing numbers.

Meanwhile, in its latest advisory yesterday, the Ministry of Health said 23 more people had tested positive for the disease. The release said this represented cases in a 24-hour period. The death toll remained at 142.