COVID-19 outbreak at Dorchester Penitentiary spreads

·1 min read
Measures to minimize spread of the COVID-19 outbreak at Dorchester Penitentiary, which began June 27, continue. (CBC News  - image credit)
Measures to minimize spread of the COVID-19 outbreak at Dorchester Penitentiary, which began June 27, continue. (CBC News - image credit)

A COVID-19 outbreak at Dorchester Penitentiary has spread to another unit.

There are now 11 inmates in the medium-security unit infected, up from seven last week, the Correctional Service of Canada's website shows.

An inmate in the minimum-security unit has also tested positive for the coronavirus, according to the website.

In addition, there are at least 11 active cases among prison staff, according to a Correctional Service spokesperson.

"CSC reports on confirmed employee cases of COVID-19 that are disclosed to us," they said in an emailed statement.

Employees with a positive test result must isolate at home "until it is deemed appropriate for them to return based on public health requirements," the spokesperson said.

Employees who are exposed to a positive case may continue to work, provided they have no symptoms and test negative prior to their shift.

The unidentified spokesperson declined to discuss the severity of the symptoms of the infected inmates, citing the Privacy Act.

But none are currently hospitalized for COVID-19.

"We also have a high inmate vaccination rate of almost 84 per cent, plus many of those have also received boosters, which helps to prevent severe illness from contracting COVID-19," the spokesperson added.

All staff are provided with personal protective equipment, including medical masks, respirators and face shields, while all inmates are provided medical masks and "encouraged to wear them at all times when not in their cells," officials have previously said.

Enhanced cleaning and disinfecting is ongoing and everyone entering the prison is screened for COVID.

The medium-security unit can house up to 397 inmates, while the minimum-security unit has a rated capacity of 302 inmates.

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