Mission Institution. Kevin Mills / Mission City Record.

Two employees test positive for COVID-19 at Mission Institution

Not outbreak, infected staff had no direct contact with inmates, Correctional Service Canada says

Two employees have tested positive for COVID-19 at Mission Institution, following the prison’s recovery in May from one of the worst outbreaks of any correctional facility in the country.

These new infections, however, are “not considered to be an outbreak,” according to Correctional Service Canada, as the staff did not have any contact with the inmates population.

“We are collaborating with public health authorities to conduct contact tracing to ensure that close contacts are self-isolating at home and additional testing is conducted, as needed,” a CSC spokesperson said by email. “We are monitoring the situation closely and diligently, and continue to apply our infection prevention and control measures.”

CSC added they are actively screening all employees entering their facilities, ensuring staff have access to personal protective equipment, and raising awareness among the inmate population on prevention measures and how to recognize symptoms.

“We will continue to work with our public health partners, as well as engage with unions in taking the necessary steps to ensure everyone’s safety.”

The previous outbreak hit the prison in early April, and lasted until the end of May. It infected around 40 per cent of the entire inmate population, as well as 12 staff – a prisoner died on April 15.

Inmates and their families, the Union of Canadian Correctional Officers, prisoner advocates, lawyers and activists all expressed frustration over the lack of protective health measures, and slow response by the prison’s management to the outbreak.

A class-action lawsuit has been filed against the federal government on behalf of the inmates at the prison, over the containment measures they claim violated their human rights.

Mission Institution: Voices from inside Canada’s worst COVID-19 prison outbreak

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