SURREY (NEWS 1130) — Three employees at the Surrey Pretrial Centre have tested positive for COVID-19, but according to the province “there is no evidence of transmission within the correctional centre.”
The staff members at the provincial institution tested positive between Oct. 18 and Oct. 23.
“Each of these cases is distinct and separate from the other,” says a spokesperson for the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General.
“Contact tracing is conducted for all confirmed cases and all necessary infection control precautions are in place to protect staff and individuals in custody; this includes comprehensive and timely testing, limited movement within the centre while investigations into direct contacts are underway and at home self-isolation for impacted staff following public health guidelines.”
On average, there are about 400 prisoners in the Surrey jail at any given time, although it has the capacity to house 750.
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.