911 receives 123 COVID-related calls in three weeks

Public urged to declare if self-isolating before personnel is dispatched

Cayman Islands Fire Service

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With local restrictions in place in a bid to combat the spread of coronavirus, Cayman’s Department of Public Safety Communications is reminding people that during an emergency, they must inform the 911 operator if anyone at the incident has coronavirus symptoms and/or is self-isolating.

“This crucial information will help to minimise disruption to the public safety operations and protect first-responding staff,” a Home Affairs Ministry statement said Friday.

A total of 123 coronavirus-related calls were made to the 911 call centre since 7 March, authorities said.

Julian Lewis, director of Public Safety Communications, said DPSC employees are dedicated professionals who contribute to public safety every single day.

“Our well-practiced business continuity plan ensures an uninterrupted public safety answer point for all three islands. We are in constant contact with our emergency service partners to see this plan is a success to handle and mobilise an efficient and swift professional operational response to all incident types,” he said.

Cayman is currently under a 24-hour curfew, which was announced by Premier Alden McLaughlin on Wednesday. It is expected that the all-day curfew will be lifted Saturday at 5am and the nightly curfew from 7pm to 5am will resume.

According to the Home Affairs Ministry, DPSC, the Fire Service and Her Majesty’s Cayman Islands Prison Service continue to offer their service 24 hours a day, albeit under adjusted conditions.

“The primary focus for all our essential agencies remains to be the safety of everyone across the Cayman Islands. Each agency has well-versed business continuity plans and are working closely as a public safety community to continue operations during these difficult times,” said Home Affairs Minister Tara Rivers in the statement.

The Fire Service, the statement said, has supplies of personal protective equipment and enhanced operational control measures in place to keep firefighters safe and able to continue to protect the community.

“The national response to COVID-19 has required everyone to adapt their ways of working, including those of the essential services the public rely on to keep them safe,” it added.

Chief Fire Officer Paul Walker said that Fire Service personnel will continue to respond to the community’s needs and maintain “a 24-hour, 7-days-a-week fire and rescue service throughout the challenging times ahead. We are working with our emergency service partners to provide a swift and professional operational response to all incident types.”

As for the prison, the ministry said, steps have been taken to mitigate the likelihood of transmission in prisons.

Prison officials have implemented restrictions as to the numbers of visitors, volunteers and service providers that enter the incarceration facilities, and are following public health advice.

New systems, the statement said, are in place to enable family contact to continue in a manner other than face-to-face.

“I would like to take this opportunity to assure residents that public protection and the rehabilitation of offenders remains our core function, in spite of the exceptional community health circumstances we are facing,” said Director of Prisons Steve Barrett.

“We are taking all of the steps we can to ensure that those in our custody and our staffing group are protected. This is a time where the prison community needs to exercise a shared responsibility to look after one another and that is what we are working to do.”

Full coverage: Coronavirus

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