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

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

Just Posted

Surrey RCMP Constable Mike Della-Paolera as seen in a cut-out used for the detachment’s Operation Double Take program. (File photo)
Surrey’s tall ‘Operation Double Take’ cop is on the move

Cut-out of Constable Mike Della-Paolera used in program to curb speeding and dangerous driving

In 2017, a member of the Disneyana Fan Club curated a small Community Treasures exhibit at the Museum of Surrey about the early days of Disney and the cartoonist Walt Disney. The museum is now accepting applications for its 2022 Community Treasures exhibition. (Photo: Submitted)
Museum of Surrey wants to spotlight local organizations and clubs

Museum now accepting applications for its 2022 Community Treasures exhibit

Musician Dana Vande is seen in a screenshot from a music video on Youtube. Vande recently released a pro-lockdown track in response to an Eric Clapton and Van Morrison anti-lockdown track.
Cloverdale musician writes pandemic response song to Van Morrison and Eric Clapton

Dana Vande answers a Clapton-Morrison anti-lockdown track with a pro-lockdown track

Family and friends of Hudson Brooks marched as part of a call for answers from an IIO investigation into his 2015 death. (Black Press Media files)
Inquest to look into RCMP shooting death of Hudson Brooks

Charges agains the RCMP officer who shot Brooks were stayed in 2019

Delta Police Constable Jason Martens and Dezi, a nine-year-old German Shepherd that recently retired after 10 years with Delta Police. (Photo submitted)
Delta Police dog retires on a high note after decade of service

Nine-year-old German Shepherd now fights over toys instead of chasing down bad guys

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C. adjusts COVID-19 vaccine rollout for delivery slowdown

Daily cases decline over weekend, 31 more deaths

(Realtor.ca)
Rent dropped to 2019 rates across parts of Metro Vancouver in December: Rentals.ca report

Rent costs have declined since May, a trend expected to continue due in part to the COVID pandemic

A female prisoner sent Langford police officers a thank-you card after she spent days in their custody. (Twitter/West Shore RCMP)
Woman gives Victoria-area jail 4.5-star review in handwritten card to police after arrest

‘We don’t often get thank you cards from people who stay with us, but this was sure nice to see’: RCMP

An elk got his antlers caught up in a zip line in Youbou over the weekend. (Conservation Officer Service Photo)
Elk rescued from zip line in Youbou on Vancouver Island

Officials urge people to manage items on their property that can hurt animals

A Trail man has a lucky tin for a keepsake after it saved him from a stabbing last week. File photo
Small tin in Kootenay man’s jacket pocket saved him from stabbing: RCMP

The man was uninjured thanks to a tin in his jacket

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation Chantel Moore, 26, was fatally shot by a police officer during a wellness check in the early morning of June 4, 2020, in Edmundston, N.B. (Facebook)
Frustrated family denied access to B.C. Indigenous woman’s police shooting report

Independent investigation into B.C. woman’s fatal shooting in New Brunswick filed to Crown

Nurses collect samples from a patient in a COVID suspect room in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver, Tuesday, April 21, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
5 British Columbians under 20 years old battled COVID-19 in ICU in recent weeks

Overall hospitalizations have fallen but young people battling the virus in hospital has increased

Canada released proposed regulations Jan. 2 for the fisheries minister to maintain Canada’s major fish stocks at sustainable levels and recover those at risk. (File photo)
New laws would cement DFO accountability to depleted fish stocks

Three B.C. salmon stocks first in line for priority attention under proposed regulations

Most Read