PEI

Man in P.E.I. jailed for allegedly failing to self-isolate after COVID-19 diagnosis

A 22-year-old man who tested positive for COVID-19 is in custody facing criminal charges for allegedly not self-isolating for 14 days, says P.E.I.’s director of prosecutions.

22-year-old charged after RCMP say he wasn't self-isolating at a resort

Javan Mizero Nsangira is being held at the provincial correctional centre in Charlottetown and faces charges of committing a common nuisance and uttering threats, says P.E.I.'s director of prosecutions. (CBC)

A man who tested positive for COVID-19 is in custody facing criminal charges after allegedly not self-isolating, says P.E.I.'s director of prosecutions.

John Diamond said Javan Mizero Nsangira, 22, was sent to the Rodd Brudenell River Resort last Wednesday to self-isolate for 14 days after his positive diagnosis. On Friday morning, Kings District RCMP responded to a call from resort staff indicating he was not abiding by public health measures.

RCMP Sgt. Chris Gunn said when police arrived at the resort, they found a man on the front lawn. Gunn said he was arrested and later charged with committing a common nuisance by endangering the life, safety or health of the public, as well as with uttering threats.

An RCMP officer was required to self-isolate because he came in close contact with the man. Gunn said the officer was tested and his result has come back negative.

Resort designated an isolation site

Nsangira appeared in provincial court on Monday via telephone. He did not enter a plea, and his next court appearance is scheduled for July 30.

Diamond said Nsangira was arrested on a domestic matter last Wednesday morning in Charlottetown and released on his own recognizance. Because he had tested positive for COVID-19, he was sent to Brudenell, which the province has been using as an isolation site for those who need one, such as temporary foreign workers.

He was given an opportunity to self isolate at Brudenell, didn't like that, and as a result the police had limited options what to do with him.— John Diamond

Diamond said that Nsangira himself is not a temporary foreign worker.

"He was given an opportunity to self-isolate at Brudenell, didn't like that and as a result the police had limited options what to do with him," the prosecutor said.

"And as a result, since he was being non-compliant with self-isolation and basically creating a risk to the general population, he had to be placed in a facility such as the correctional facility."

Though Nsangira remains in custody, Dr. Heather Morrison, P.E.I.'s chief public health officer, said at her news briefing on Tuesday that there are currently no positive cases at the provincial jail.

Morrison has declined to comment on the health of any specific individual during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the province's most recent statistics show that two people who were still testing positive on the weekend are now classified as recovered, leaving just three active cases. 

Refusing to self-isolate brings $1,000 fine

Nsangira has also been fined $1,000 under the province's Public Health Act for not complying with the directive to self-isolate.

He is one of 34 people who have been fined for not self-isolating in line with public health coronavirus instructions. Three others have gone to court, all leading to convictions. Two more cases are scheduled for August.

Diamond said he's not overly surprised that people are contesting fines for not self-isolating, given that they amount to $1,000. "People have the right to have their day in court."

He said, however, that the series of charges is showing that the province takes COVID-19 health measures seriously.

"The people that are doing the enforcement are taking it seriously, doing proper investigations and providing the information to the courts, and then the court has the ability to make a determination," Diamond said.

About the Author

Shane Ross is a former newspaper and TV journalist in Halifax, Ottawa and Charlottetown. He joined CBC P.E.I.'s web team in 2016.

With files from Brian Higgins

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