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Nine more Mission inmates test positive for COVID-19

Citynews 1130 Vancouver
FILE - Patches are seen on the arm and shoulder of a corrections officer in the segregation unit at the Fraser Valley Institution for Women during a media tour, in Abbotsford, B.C., on Thursday October 26, 2017. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)

Mission Institution has the most positive cases of the virus of any federal prison in Canada

The medium-security institution near Stave Lake reported its first two positive cases last week

Another 17 tests are pending results at Mission, says Correctional Service of Canada

MISSION (NEWS 1130) — Nine more inmates from a prison in Mission have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total there to 11.

That is the most positive cases of the virus of any federal prison in Canada, according to the Correctional Service of Canada.

The Joliette Institution in Quebec has 10 cases, while the Grand Valley Institution for Women in Ontario has seven.

Earlier Wednesday, government medical professionals said Canada’s jails and prisons don’t meet physical distancing guidelines for COVID-19 and they want as many inmates as possible to be released.

The Mission Institution, a medium-security institution near Stave Lake, reported its first two positive cases last week. Another 17 tests are pending results, says the Correctional Service.

“We are closely and carefully following direction from public health officials, while following strict protocols to avoid further spread in the institution,” Melissa Hart, with the Correctional Service, says in an email.

In addition to a number of measures implemented across the country, further preventative measures being taken:

  • immediately having the inmates self-isolate, including any other individuals living in close contact with the inmates;
  • cleaning and disinfecting of all high-touch surfaces, in addition to existing enhanced cleaning;
  • modified routines;
  • and reinforced prevention measures, such as physical distancing, hygiene practices and having everyone self-monitor their health status.

Correctional Service of Canada protocol involves medically isolating inmates who show symptoms of COVID-19, as well as promptly isolating them from the general inmate population to prevent the spread of infection.

“We have hygiene measures in place to prevent the spread of viruses, and also cleaning, disinfecting, and proper laundry and waste disposal processes,” Hart said.

“We are engaged with public health and are working closely to trace any contacts these inmates have had in order to take further measures, as necessary. We have dedicated health care in our institutions with nurses and doctors on hand to monitor and assess any inmates that develop symptoms.”

As an added health and safety measure, she said the Correctional Service continues to suspend visits to inmates, all temporary absences — unless medically necessary — work releases for inmates, and all inter-regional and international transfers of inmates.

“We also have suspended programming, non-essential work in our institutions and have implemented modified routines to limit comings and goings,” she added.

“As we continue our critical work to uphold public safety during this time, we will monitor the situation closely and continue to work with public health authorities, our employees and unions to ensure that appropriate measures are in place for the ongoing protection and safety of our employees and inmates.”