Officials confirm case of coronavirus at federal prison in Agassiz

May 21 2020, 4:44 pm

A case of COVID-19 has now been confirmed at a federal prison in Agassiz, a spokesperson for the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) told Daily Hive on Thursday.

“As part of CSC’s response to COVID-19 in British Columbia, new admissions to federal corrections and inmates returning to an institution from the community are medically isolated for 14 days before they are transferred to their home institution,” the spokesperson said.

On May 4, “15 inmates were admitted from the province to Matsqui Institution and placed in medical isolation for 14 days.”

Then, on May 18, the inmates were transferred to their respective home institutions, which included Agassiz’ Mountain Institution.

“Upon admission to Mountain Institution, one of three inmates transferred to that facility reported a mild symptom of COVID-19 to a nurse,” the spokesperson said. “Immediate action was taken to isolate and test all three inmates transferred to the site.”

One test subsequently returned positive for COVID-19, while the other two came back negative. Contact tracing began immediately.

Now, in response to the positive test – and in collaboration with the Fraser Health Authority – “all 15 inmates initially admitted to Matsqui were medically isolated in their respective institution and broader testing is being conducted for COVID-19,” the spokesperson said.

“All inmates in close contact with any of the 15 inmates have also been placed into medical isolation until test results come back and the situation at all five affected sites can be reassessed.”

Testing for all employees at Matsqui and Mountain Institutions who had contact with the inmate is being offered by Fraser Health Authority, the spokesperson noted.

“All sites have been thoroughly cleaned and common areas and high-contact surfaces were disinfected,” the CSC said.

As an added precaution, “personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is available and being used [and] masks have been provided to all inmates and staff and they are required to wear them.”

In the wake of this latest case, the CSC said it is “closely and carefully following direction from public health officials, while following strict protocols to avoid further spread in the institutions.”

The CSC added that it is committed to “reducing the risks of COVID-19 in all of its operations” and keeping everyone safe.

“We have dedicated healthcare professionals available in our institutions with nurses and physicians, and the equipment needed to monitor, assess, test, and provide care to all inmates,” the spokesperson said.