Medium Security Mission Institution continues to see the most serious COVID-19 outbreak in a Canadian correctional facility. An inmate has already died of symptoms believed to be related to the disease, which was the first such case in the country.
Provincial health worker Dr. Bonnie Henry announced Saturday that 40 new cases have been identified at the prison after testing each inmate.
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Since Saturday, 106 inmates and 12 correctional officers have now tested positive for the coronavirus, said Henry. Two of the detainees are hospitalized, she added, up from six earlier this month.
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This number represents more than a third of the approximately 300 inmates currently housed in the medium security site.
The CSC said in a statement on Saturday that its staff were working “diligently and often 24 hours a day” to prevent a further spread of the epidemic.
Coronavirus outbreak at Mission Institution
Positive cases are isolated from the rest of the prison population, he said, and all staff and inmates have been given masks and gloves.
The prison also called on experts to review its control and prevention measures, the CSC continued, and took the experts’ recommendations to install additional handwashing stations and increase hygiene supplies.
According to officials, detainees have the option of leaving their cells daily for phone calls and showers.
The Union of Canadian Correctional Officers has said that the high number of positive cases in the prison, which remains locked, has also made it almost impossible to separate these cases from the general prison population.
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He also continues to call for more personal protective equipment for staff, many of whom have no choice but to be within six feet of each other and inmates.
Henry said Saturday that controlling the epidemic was an ongoing challenge. She repeatedly noted that tests and controls were not introduced quickly enough to limit the spread, forcing officials to “catch up”.
She also said on Saturday that the prison is a “very difficult environment” for isolating people from each other, especially as the number of people infected has increased in tens.
“It was a difficult process; I’m not going to coat this, ”she said. “It is very difficult to be able to support people who live in this type of community environment and to try to prevent transmission and infection.”
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