5 inmates hospitalized from COVID-19 at Mission Institution, 4 corrections officers test positive

The facility’s outbreak has infected 30 people: all of B.C.’s federal prison cases

Five inmates from Mission Institution have been hospitalized as that federal penitentiary deals with a COVID-19 outbreak which has infected 26 inmates and four corrections officers.

“Fraser Health is working in supporting our corrections partners in managing the challenging outbreak in that facility,” B.C.’s provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said during a Saturday (April 11) news conference.

Correctional Service Canada data has shown a steady increase in positive cases at the jail since the initial confirmation one week ago. There have been a total of 46 tests on inmates at the prison with six tests coming back negative. Fifteen results are still pending.

Source: Corrections Canada

A positive case at Pacific Regional Treatment Centre was an inmate from the Mission prison who was moved for medical assistance and received a positive test result at the Abbotsford facility, according to an email from Correctional Service Canada.

A corrections officer working at the prison, who spoke with Black Press Media on April 4 before the outbreak’s confirmation, said that a total of 15 officers had to self-isolate due the outbreak, and that much of prison-life was carrying on as normal.

RELATED: Two inmates found positive for COVID-19 at Mission Institution; two other tests pending

Across Canada, 61 inmates within federal prisons have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, according to Corrections Canada. Mission Institution currently has the highest number of cases across all facilities.

Quebec’s Joliette Institution has 16 positive tests and Port-Cartier Institution, also in Quebec, has 10. Ontario’s Grand Valley Institution for Women has eight.

According to the Union of Canadian Correctional Officers, who confirmed the four corrections officers cases, a total of 56 corrections officers at federal prisons have tested positive. The only positive cases in B.C. have come from Mission Institution.

The Mission facility has now been locked down as a precautionary measure. Staff are now “closely and carefully following direction from public health officials, while following strict protocols to avoid further spread in the institution,” Corrections Canada said in a news release this week.

These directions include enhanced cleaning, two daily checks on symptomatic inmates and one daily check on asymptomatic inmates by nursing staff, a hygiene routine and meals now being served in cells.

Mission’s Mayor released statement on the outbreak.

“The news of cases of COVID-19 at Mission Medium Institution is deeply concerning,” Pam Alexis said. “This is not only a serious public health issue for the inmates on lockdown and the staff working there, but is a great concern for the staff who are residents of Mission and have families at home and go about their lives within the community.”

The union has said that surgical masks will now be available for all correctional officers at 49 federal sites, and will soon be available for inmates as well. Only corrections officers who had no contact with those who tested positive are now being allow into federal facilities, and medical staff are taking the temperature of all employees upon entry, the union said.

“Mask supplies are still a concern for our 7,400 members and we are working hard to make sure correctional officers have access to all the appropriate PPE to perform their work in these difficult circumstances,” an email from the union said.

The union is asking the federal government to “act now to provide each federal institution with an adequate supply of test kits for the purpose of testing critical staff members who have been determined to be at risk through the contact tracing process.”

Meanwhile, advocates are continuing to pressure the federal government to release non-violent offenders to curb the spread. In B.C., provincial officials have granted the early release of nearly 100 inmates, after two inmates contracted the virus at the Okanagan Correctional Centre.

READ MORE: B.C. jails grant early release for close to 100 inmates due to COVID-19

– with files from Kevin Mills and Ashley Wadhwani

CoronavirusMission

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Thief steals bucket truck in Abbotsford while worker is 20 feet in air

Employee is able to jump to safety after suspect drives into pole

Fraser Valley Real Estate Board says sales double in June, buyers returning to market

Month’s property sales rebound 113% over May’s sales, 32% over June last year

Fraser River may surge one more time next week

It’s unusual for the Fraser River to peak twice in one season, let alone three times

Supreme Court orders new French-language school for Abbotsford, improved one for Chilliwack

A French-only elementary school must be built in Abbotsford, court ordered in landmark ruling

Fraser Basin Council invites local youth to environmental-policy program

Applications for ‘Co-Creating a Sustainable BC’ program have June 19 deadline

The pandemic is widening Canada’s workplace gender gap

Gender pay gap is incentivizing fathers to work while mothers watch children, a new B.C. study has found

Investigation clears RCMP in incident where man fell from Langley overpass

‘Officers acted commendably and placed themselves at risk’ police watchdog report finds

Ex-Okanagan Mountie forfeits 20 days’ pay after sexual misconduct review

A former Vernon RCMP constable made sexual comments, grabbed genitals of male officer in two incidents 10 years ago

Rural Chilliwack residents asked to stay indoors, lock doors amid heavy police presence

Heavy police presence in rural Chilliwack neighbourhood as RCMP contend with ‘serious situation’

Councillor Doug Elford Surrey’s acting mayor during McCallum’s “health concern” absence

Mayor issued a statement Tuesday night saying he’ll be back on the job by Monday

Man found dead on Okanagan trail identified as Hollywood actor

GoFundMe campaign launched for man found dead at summit of Spion Kop

3 people dead in Prince George motel fire

Fire personnel believe the blaze was suspicious although investigation in early stages

B.C. sets terms to review police, mental health, race relations

MLAs to recommend Police Act changes by May 2021

Most Read