Employee of Saskatchewan Penitentiary tests positive for coronavirus

Contact tracing is underway at the Saskatchewan Penitentiary in Prince Albert after an employee tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

“Public health is working very closely with Corrections and with the person who may have been at work before they became symptomatic,” said Saskatchewan’s chief medical health officer Dr. Saqib Shahab.

Correctional Services Canada (CSC) said the employee who is currently self-isolating at home, did not have contact with any inmates.

Read more: Two dozen inmates at Warkworth Institution test negative for coronavirus, CSC says

To date, no inmates at any federal correctional facilities in Saskatchewan have tested positive for the virus.

The institution is not locked down and is still accommodating visits, says the CSC.

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However, staffing levels had to be reduced due to shortages related to dozens of employees self-isolating.

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“Staff on-site have shown flexibility and some have worked extended hours to meet the operational requirements of running the institution,” said the CSC.

Read more: Inmate populations decline across Canada amid coronavirus pandemic

All employees entering the prison are screened for the novel coronavirus, says the CSC. Additionally, all employees are equipped with personal protective equipment including non-medical masks.

“We continue to raise awareness of COVID-19 among inmates and employees, including prevention measures, how to recognize symptoms and protocols to follow. We have also increased cleaning and disinfecting at sites.”

CSC says it has health services in its Saskatchewan prisons and institutions to monitor and treat inmates, as needed.

To date, 70 inmates at federal correctional facilities in Saskatchewan have been tested for the novel coronavirus. The result of one test is pending while the others have tested negative.

Read more: Judges release growing number accused of violent crimes due to COVID-19 fears

Additionally, no inmates at provincial correctional facilities have tested positive for the virus, confirmed a spokesperson for the Ministry of Justice.

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In Canada, 360 federal inmates have contracted COVID-19, according to the CSC. Of those, two inmates died from COVID-19, while the other 358 recovered.

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Coronavirus outbreak: Testing in U.S. prisons finds huge asymptomatic population

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