Correctional Services Canada has updated their COVID-19 dashboard to reveal growing case numbers at local prisons.
According to CSC, there are currently 89 active cases among inmates at Joyceville Institution and six at Collins Bay Institution. They are also reporting three active cases at Warkworth Institution in Brighton, Ontario. The extensive institutional spread of COVID-19 was first reported by Kingstonist on Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020.
The number of staff who have tested positive, according to Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington (KFL&A) Public Health has risen to six.
“This is an evolving situation and we continue to work with public health authorities to monitor the situation and take additional actions, as needed,” said a statement from CSC. They noted that they had previously suspended visitation, are expanding testing of employees and offenders, and implementing “extensive health and safety measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”
Dr. Moore: CSC opening a treatment facility
Kingston’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore addressed the spread of COVID-19 in local prisons during a press conference on Friday, Dec. 18, 2020. “We have advised them to have a very aggressive testing strategy,” he said.
He noted that CSC institutions are federal property, and not within KFL&A Public Health’s jurisdiction.
“They have their own public health service, their own physician consultants,” he said, “but they have invited us to the calls. We are happy to be at the table and advise.” Prisoner case counts are not included in local numbers, he added, but staff cases are.
Dr. Moore also confirmed that one inmate had been transferred for hospitalization at Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC). CSC is planning to open a short-term COVID-19 treatment centre within the federal penitentiaries locally, he said, which could provide oxygen and IV treatment for up to 10 inmates.
“That certainly is helpful because we don’t want to have too significant an impact on the local health system, if CSC can expand their regional treatment centres or expand their capacity to treat inmates,” he said. There are also security concerns involved with transferring patients, he added.
The hospitalized inmate is not counted in KFL&A Public Health’s COVID-19 numbers, and could be transferred back to CSC property when the treatment centre is set up, he said.