Beat officers handing out reusable masks

| 22/05/2020 | 41 Comments
  • Cayman News Service
  • Cayman News Service
  • Cayman News Service

(CNS): Community police officers have been handing out tens of thousands of cloth face masks on all three Cayman Islands. The masks were procured from Jamaica and the US through the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) and are being distributed to members of the public and to front-line staff from public safety and customer facing agencies such as RCIPS, Prison Service, Customs and Border Control, Airports Authority and Water Authority.

According to a government release, as of yesterday nearly 24,000 reusable cloth masks had been distributed by the Community Policing Branch of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service, including around 21,500 on Grand Cayman, 2,300 on Cayman Brac and 87 on Little Cayman. A further 41,000 are still to be distributed.

COVID-19 spreads via droplets when people talk, cough or sneeze, and the purpose of the masks is to reduce the chances that people positive for the viral illness infect others.

While distribution of masks only began last week, the procurement of the masks began some time ago as a special project of the NEOC, Hazard Management Cayman Islands (HCCI) Director Danielle Coleman explained.

“When it became clear that we would be moving towards everyone needing to wear a mask in public places, an immediate challenge was how we would source and then distribute reusable masks to all persons across the Cayman Islands,” she said.

“The Support Services cluster which combines procurement, negotiating and logistics skills as well as private sector contacts took the lead on this project and were able to source the required amount at a reasonable price,” Coleman added.

Support Services ultimately procured a total of 100,000 masks, half from Jamaica and half from American corporation Hanes, at a total cost of US$150,000. The Dart Group helped procure the masks from the US, which had not originally been intended to be sold outside the country, according to the release.

Those purchased from Jamaica are in use by various public safety agencies, including the RCIPS and the Jamaica Defence Force. Meanwhile the Hanes masks have been approved by both the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control in the United States.

To ensure nationwide distribution, Support Services partnered with the RCIPS, and as of late last week, teams of community police officers and community safety officers have gone door-to-door across the three Cayman Islands.

Inspector Courtney Myles, who heads the Community Policing Department of the RCIPS, said the masks had already has been delivered to nearly everyone on Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, as well as about one third of the people on Grand Cayman.

“We thought this was the perfect project for our community team. We are on the ground daily, and as such we know people and their circumstances at the neighbourhood level. Our capability to go door to door also means that we can properly map and manage the distribution process in a way that is fair to all,” Inspector Myles said.

Flyers with instructions for the care and proper use of the reusable cloth masks are also being provided to ensure maximum effectiveness.

Masks are also being provided to front-line personnel within public safety and customer facing agencies such as RCIPS, Prison Service, Customs and Border Control, Airports Authority and Water Authority.

With local businesses such as supermarkets now requiring customers to wear face-coverings to gain access, community police officers have also been on site at all locations with a limited supply of disposable masks to give anyone who comes without one.

They will also be included in the return-to-work personal protective equipment kits for all government entities, as well as Statutory Authorities and Government Companies, in preparation for phased reactivation of the public service.

New public health regulations require everyone in the Cayman Islands over the age of two years old to wear a face covering when indoors in a public place and unable to maintain a distance of six feet from other people.

Chief Medical Officer Dr John Lee thanked NEOC, including the Support Services Team and the RCIPS, for working to ensure that everyone in the Cayman Islands is able to comply with the legislation as quickly as possible. 

Additional information about how to wear masks and what kinds of masks are safe to wear is available here

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Category: Health, health and safety

Comments (41)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Still not seeing a distribution plan anywhere and wondering about the timeline. I’ve heard from people down the road from us in Prospect (in both directions) that they have received but their neighbours have not. Not a soul in our complex has mentioned receiving the RCIPS cloth masks and I haven’t left the house in more than 2 weeks so it’s not like we missed the knock on the door.

  2. Anonymous says:

    So the police handed them out to our neighbour’s in the complex next to us in West Bay but not to us in Villas Pappagallo. Why were we skipped?

  3. Anonymous says:

    “why would you want to slow down herd immunity”, so the very limited medical services on island (ie respirators) aren’t overwelmed and people die unnecessarily. Imagine COVID getting into the Pines.
    And then there is the fact that other human corona viruses that aren’t fatal have only a 1-3 year immunity duration, so herd immunity will be relatively ineffective anyway.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I would love a free mask, but cannot wait. Might take longer then the vaccine.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Jump to 25:30

    “Dr Chris Smith, consultant virologist at Cambridge University, told RNZ people should not buy them and instead save their money.

    “Go and spend it on something useful that you enjoy doing, like having a beer. Those face masks are absolute rubbish and they do nothing.”

  6. Anonymous says:

    Probably how they caught the ‘rona

  7. Anonymous says:

    Why are expensively trained police officers handing out bloody masks when the ever hopeless CBC officers are being paid overtime to support them. Why can’t store staff hand out masks?
    I would be more impressed by the police Covid response if they had actually done their damn job and stopped the idiots who persistently break the terms of curfew.
    They are driving around in circles with lights flashing, for exactly what reason, apart from playing policemen?

    • Anonymous says:

      They are driving around in circles with lights flashing?

      Instilling fear in people’s minds.

  8. Anonymous says:

    My community police officer does a great job within my community and represents the best of the RCIPS. He makes himself available at all times and is responsive to the needs of the community. His interactions with members of the community are respectful and measured and he keeps the community updated on anything that might have an impact on the community.

    • Anonymous says:

      You should name him. Very few are like that. There was a very sweet man in Bodden town at a check point. I like when they care.

    • Anonymous says:

      Because they aren’t pulling over crazy drivers.

  9. Anonymous says:

    This is terrible,why ain’t no one checking on this person ?i hope the person have some family member . Sad .

  10. Whoops says:

    They are being handed out by police officers? I thought they just had some positives among their ranks. The masks might hav COVID on them.

  11. JTB says:

    How can police distribute masks when they don’t know the political affiliations of the people they’re giving them to?

  12. Anonymous says:

    Why weren’t people here given the chance to earn money making masks during this lockdown from their homes?
    Instead, these funds were sent out of country to benefit others!
    Whose idea was it?
    MOH, this being a Health issue, what say you?

    • Anonymous says:

      Make money?

      How exactly?

      By price gouging fearful people?

      By inflating the scary virus to line your own pockets making sub standard face masks?

      Enlighten us, how’d you plan to make that money?

    • Anonymous says:

      People are selling home-made masks. – But – It is unlikely that even if all of the out of work and underemployed people started hand-sewing masks on the 1st of May they’d have produced tens of thousands by now. Even if they had been organised into a sweatshop. These are doubtless coming from manufacturing plant. It was very sensible of the CIG to source in bulk. – Now, if you, or anyone else, want to start sewing masks and selling them there appears to still be a decent market of people/families who want (a) more masks and (b) more fashionable masks. So there is your market: the people who want and can afford masks. Get to it.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Why did it take so long to distribute masks?
    How about extra mask to survive Dump’s fires?

    Next, business owners want to know who to submit requests for work permit fee refunds that were paid for 12 months.
    Why refunds weren’t made already is another question. There is no legal grounds to keep the money. It should be on the liability section of FS..

    Business owners could also claim that the Governor cannot force them to bear alone the costs for achieving a social goal. And at the very least, such lawsuits would force government to explain why the benefits shutdowns exceed their costs, when compared to less intrusive approaches such as quarantines, monitoring, and testing.

  14. Anonymous says:

    CNS, where is the emotion meter thing that you have on your other articles. reading this piece made me happy and I would have hit the happy face to indicate such.

    CNS: Sorry, I just forgot. It’s there now.

  15. Anonymous says:

    still waiting in prospect…..

  16. Anonymous says:

    Waiting patiently for them to reach Prospect

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree! I’m a registered, senior voter in Prospect. I’ve not heard or seen anything from my MLA. Hello. Hello. Anyone know where Alden is!!!!? No masks, no help. NOTHING. Expecting my vote!!?!?

    • Anonymous says:

      I’m in Red Bay district (although I think it’s Prospect on all maps except the electoral one). No one has been here. I’m a voting senior, living alone. My ‘honourable’ MLA ,or his designate, or the police, or social services has checked in with me over the last 2 months. Spending $30 a week, plus ever increasing cost of groceries, to get deliveries from Hurleys. No senior discounts. No CUC assistance for online orders.
      Maybe I will put myself forward for election?

    • Anonymous says:

      Waiting on them to come in West Bay.West church Street.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the update CNS, what would we do without you! Looks like Fosters at Caymana Bay, no surprise there. Handing a mask to somebody already wearing one, or was a photo pose? Was anybody handing them out at Fosters Airport today, especially those that didn’t have one and positive just found?

  18. Anonymous says:

    Was the mask from Jamaica approved by the FDA….if not, they could have been made locally. Just love to spend….spend….spend….two billion burning their hands. Don’t get me wrong….we appreciate the initiative taken, but lets try to conserve and support the local seamstress and tailors. (Just look at the headlines above…”homemade masks given to frontline workers”). National Vote

  19. Anonymous says:

    Even if this worked, why would you want to slow down herd immunity, it’s the only safe chance of eradication and getting back to normal, please apply some logic – is this even legal to enforce on healthy people when there is no evidence it works?

    • Anonymous says:

      Not only do these mask not work on something as small as a virus studies say they cause more harm just do a little research and there are lots of information on this, do you know what does work , our immune systems, beef up your immune system fear is bad for it too

  20. Anonymous says:

    There is zero science to support that this works at all!

    In fact the science says the opposite, this is nuts and causes an increase in CO2

  21. Anonymous says:

    Any idea when they will do BT? There were no visible police at Fosters countryside when I went this morning. I’d personally like to thank those behind this initiative for handing them out for free, rather than profiting from the situations as so many others do. Charging $3 each for a single use paper masks is daylight robbery. People out of work and unemployed can’t afford it.

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