Thunder Bay

23 inmates, 12 staff at Thunder Bay District Jail COVID-19 positive on Wednesday

The president of the union representing staff at the Thunder Bay District Jail says the province has not yet made any commitments in terms of support as the facility continues to struggle with a COVID-19 outbreak.

Union still waiting to hear from province on support

Twenty-three inmates and 12 staff members at Thunder Bay District Jail were positive with COVID-19 on Wednesday. (Marc Doucette / CBC)

The president of the union representing staff at the Thunder Bay District Jail says the province has not yet made any commitments in terms of support as the facility continues to struggle with a COVID-19 outbreak.

As of Wednesday, 23 inmates and 12 staff at the facility were confirmed positive for COVID-19.

A further six staff were self-isolating, as they'd been identified as close contacts.

Bill Hayes, president of Ontario Public Service Employees Union Local 737, said  the province has not yet responded to requests for more support for the jail.

Hayes said, however, that he fully supports the City of Thunder Bay's new emergency declaration.

The city declared a state of emergency specific to health and social services on Tuesday, out of concern that COVID-19 could spread to vulnerable populations in the city.

Hayes called the city's declaration "an important step."

"That's something the city has to address, for sure," he said. "This is our community, and we need to look out for it."

"I expect 100 per cent support from the government in anything the city requires to get this set up."

Thunder Bay mayor Bill Mauro said the city was requesting funding and staffing support to allow for the expansion of isolation space.

Hayes said meanwhile, staff at the jail will continue to work to address the outbreak.

"Basically, hoping to see these numbers come down," he said. "The drop in positive staff cases, and the fact that some have been resolved, is is good news."

"Hopefully that continues, and hopefully we can get some of these these inmate numbers down, and no new cases pop up," Hayes said. "But again, it's just going day-to-day, and just sitting and waiting and monitoring."

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