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Number of COVID-19 cases at B.C. federal prisons continue to rise

Last Updated Apr 9, 2020 at 7:26 pm PDT

FILE - In this March 11, 2020 file photo, a technician prepares COVID-19 coronavirus patient samples for testing at a laboratory in New York's Long Island. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS/John Minchillo
Summary

Corrections Canada numbers show the Pacific Regional Treatment Centre in Abbotsford has its first case of COVID-19

The novel coronavirus has now been reported at two federal correctional institutions in B.C.

As of Thursday morning, 15 inmates at federal prisons in B.C. now have COVID-19, up from 11 on Wednesday

ABBOTSFORD (NEWS 1130) — As of Thursday morning, 15 inmates at federal prisons in B.C. now have COVID-19, up from 11 on Wednesday. The Mission Institution has a total of 14 positive cases.

According to Corrections Canada, 21 tests are still pending at the Mission Institution.

A total of 48 tests for the coronavirus have been conducted at federal prisons in B.C.

Corrections Canada numbers show the Pacific Regional Treatment Centre in Abbotsford is reporting its first case of the novel coronavirus, but according to Corrections Canada that person was originally in Mission Institution.

“An inmate from Mission Institution who was awaiting COVID-19 test results was in need of medical attention and was moved to the Regional Medical Hospital at the Pacific Regional Treatment Centre. The Regional Medical Hospital provides services to federal inmates in the Pacific Region. Test results received at the Regional Medical Hospital confirmed the inmate was positive for COVID-19,” they said in an email.

This comes after more inmates at the Mission Institution tested positive.

 

On Wednesday, an infectious disease doctor who works at the Mission Institution warned the inmate population was on track of an “explosive” outbreak if more wasn’t done to contain the virus.

“We have to be acting expeditiously, or we’re going to have a very, very uncontrollable situation on our hands,” Dr. John Farley told NEWS 1130. “The virus is going to get ahead of us while we fiddle.”

The Mission Institution is comprised of a medium security prison with capacity for 216 inmates and an minimum-security facility with capacity for 324. Despite the positive tests next door, no tests have been reported from the minimum security prison.