PORT COQUITLAM (NEWS 1130) — A man being held at the North Fraser Pretrial Centre has tested positive for COVID-19, according to a spokesperson for B.C.’s Ministry of Public Safety.
The positive results were recorded Thursday, after the man showed symptoms.
“At the onset of symptoms, this individual was isolated under medical observation and tested. Following provincial health guidelines, an investigation into direct contacts is now underway to identify anyone who may have had exposure to this individual, and appropriate measures will be taken as directed by public health officials,” says an email from the ministry.
BC Corrections says the Port Coquitlam jail, which holds up to 300 men who have been remanded into custody while they await trial, began preparing for a positive case when the pandemic was declared.
Province-wide, only 30 per cent of people in jail have been sentenced, while the rest of the population is made up of “people in custody pending outstanding court matters.”
The province says decreasing the number of people awaiting trial in remand centres has been part of the response to concerns over potential transmission in jails.
In mid-March, there were 1,430 people awaiting trial behind bars, that number dropped to 940 by mid-June.
There is no publicly available data tracking cases in provincial institutions.
In federal prisons, 358 people have tested positive and two have died since the onset of the pandemic.
Mission Institution in B.C. had one of the worst outbreaks, with 120 people contracting COVID-19 and one person dying from it.
The current number of prisoners with the virus is zero.