COVID-19 outbreak declared at Pine Grove Correctional Centre in Prince Albert, Sask.

·2 min read
An outbreak of COVID-19 has been declared at Saskatchewan's only correctional centre for adult women. (CBC - image credit)
An outbreak of COVID-19 has been declared at Saskatchewan's only correctional centre for adult women. (CBC - image credit)

The mother of an inmate at Pine Grove Correctional Centre in Prince Albert, Sask., says she is disappointed and angry after an outbreak of COVID-19 was declared at the facility.

Dina Kayseas has a daughter on remand inside the facility, which is the province's only correctional facility for adult women. After speaking with her daughter yesterday evening, Kayseas said she's concerned for everyone inside.

"I'm disappointed. I'm upset. I'm worried," she said. "It seems like the employees of the facility are not doing their due diligence in keeping these women safe. How did it get in there?"

The outbreak was officially logged on the province's outbreak list on May 23. Kayseas said it's her understanding that several people have contacted the virus.

Kayseas said her daughter, Sharise Sutherland-Kayseas, is currently awaiting test results, but is symptomatic with a cough and fatigue.

Sharise Sutherland-Kayseas, who is currently awaiting trial at the Pine Grove Correctional Centre, is seen with her daughter in this undated photo. Her mom, Dina, says Sharise is struggling inside the facility and is currently on a hunger strike.
Sharise Sutherland-Kayseas, who is currently awaiting trial at the Pine Grove Correctional Centre, is seen with her daughter in this undated photo. Her mom, Dina, says Sharise is struggling inside the facility and is currently on a hunger strike. (Submitted by Dina Kayseas)

Kayseas hopes the test comes back negative, but said she was told an inmate who was healthy was housed alongside her daughter before the test result came in, raising questions about the facility's handling of the outbreak.

Kayseas said the government should be releasing inmates to ensure the virus does not spread further.

"That's putting people's lives at risk," she said.

Cases in both staff and inmates

As of Thursday afternoon, the facility had a total of 12 known active cases, with five staff and seven inmates listed as positive.

CBC News requested an interview with a representative from the Ministry of Corrections, but a statement was provided instead.

"Corrections' primary concern is the health and safety of staff, inmates and the public," it said.

The statement said the government has taken steps to reduce the spread of COVID-19, including continuous masking, strict isolation and quarantine measures, and enhanced cleaning.

The statement said those admitted to the correctional facility are tested and screened for COVID-19, and are tested again 10 days later or if they're showing symptoms. Those who are sick are isolated away from the rest of the population, it said.

"Nursing staff are continually monitoring offenders for symptoms during their regular rounds. Inmates are also urged on an ongoing basis to inform staff if they are experiencing any symptoms," the statement read.

It also noted those on the inside have access to a wide range of suitable medical and mental health supports, ranging from psychiatrists to pharmacists, with every inmate getting a medical assessment upon admission.