Saskatchewan

Employee case of COVID-19, staff shortages in maximum security at Sask. Penitentiary

Twenty-nine workers are self-isolating and a “modified routine” was implemented due to staff shortages at the Saskatchewan Penitentiary, where a worker has tested positive for COVID-19. 

Correctional Services Canada says the employee did not have contact with inmates

Correctional Services Canada says it is working with public health authorities to conduct contact tracing. (Guy Quenneville/CBC)

Twenty-nine workers are self-isolating and a "modified routine" was implemented due to staff shortages in maximum security at the Saskatchewan Penitentiary, where a worker has tested positive for COVID-19.

Correctional Services Canada (CSC) said it is working with public health authorities to do contact tracing at the prison in Prince Albert, Sask.

"We are monitoring the situation closely and diligently, and continue to apply our infection prevention and control measures," said CSC in a written response to questions Thursday. 

CSC said the worker who tested positive for the virus is self-isolating at home and did not have contact with inmates.

The federal correctional service said not all of the 29 staff who are self-isolating are linked to the case of the worker. 

"This number is not exclusive of the one positive case, but rather an ongoing demonstration of the importance of reducing transmission in our institutions and communities," CSC said. 

It said there are no known cases of COVID-19 among inmates at the facility. Staff shortages did lead to some prisoners being moved around on Wednesday. 

"The modified routine was put in place in order to maintain unit safety in the wake of temporary staffing shortages in the maximum units," CSC said.

"Medium security units have been placed on restricted movement in order to facilitate safe movements while inmates who have been assigned to new cells are moved to their new cells."

It said visits are still being allowed at the facility, and cleaning and disinfecting has increased. There are health professionals on-site to monitor and treat inmates as needed.

"We continue to actively screen employees entering our institutions and all employees are equipped with the appropriate personal protective equipment, including non-medical masks," CSC said.  

"We continue to raise awareness of COVID-19 among inmates and employees, including prevention measures, how to recognize symptoms and protocols to follow."

A total of 70 COVID-19 tests have been performed at federal correctional facilities in Saskatchewan since the pandemic started.

Of those, 69 had a negative result. The result of one test on an inmate in maximum security at the Saskatchewan Penitentiary is pending.


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