Red Cross called in to assist COVID-19 outbreak at Drumheller prison

An outbreak of COVID-19 at an Alberta prison has prompted officials to call in the Red Cross to help manage the situation.

As of March 10, 91 cases of COVID-19 are linked to the outbreak at the prison

The Canadian Red Cross has been called in to assist with a COVID-19 outbreak at the Drumheller Institution, which has been linked to 91 cases as of March 10. (Lars Hagberg/Canadian Press)

An outbreak of COVID-19 at an Alberta prison has prompted officials to call in the Red Cross to help manage the situation.

In an email, a spokesperson with Correctional Service Canada said the outbreak at the Drumheller Institution has been linked to 70 positive inmate cases and 21 positive staff cases as of March 10.

"Contact tracing is underway to determine how COVID is being transmitted," said Jeff Campbell with the CSC.  "Additional mass testing is underway for staff and offenders at Drumheller Institution."

The CSC has worked with various organizations, including the Red Cross, since the beginning of the pandemic to help mitigate spread. Members of the Red Cross have been onsite at Drumheller Institution since March 8.

Shelly Makrugin with the Red Cross said the organization was "uniquely positioned" to provide support.

"Since the initial onset of COVID-19, the Red Cross has assessed and supported similar efforts in other facilities throughout Canada, including long-term care sites and rehabilitation centres," Makrugin said in an email.

Campbell said the Red Cross has helped to provide containment and mitigation strategies.

He said the institution has implemented a number of measures, including quarantining and testing incoming inmates, isolating positive cases and suspending visits.

With files from Colleen Underwood


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