Sarnia Jail sees first case of COVID-19

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After more than seven months of keeping COVID-19 at bay the first case of the virus has been found in the Sarnia Jail.

The positive test was recorded from an inmate on Sunday, Oct. 25, and confirmed by the Ministry of the Solicitor General on Thursday. “Since admission, the inmate has been in medical isolation and is receiving medical care as appropriate,” says ministry spokesperson Kristy Denette.

In an update late on Oct. 29 the case was marked as resolved.

New inmates at the jail are housed in a separate intake area for two weeks before joining the general population. COVID tests are provided with the inmate’s consent.

Denette added that other measures taken at both Sarnia Jail and all provincial facilities include mandatory masks and temperature checks for staff and visitors, masks for inmates if they wish, and increased cleaning measures.

Staff at provincial facilities are not required to declare if they have tested positive for COVID, although they must pass a screening to attend work.

Since the pandemic began in March jails in Ontario have worked to release low-risk and intermittent offenders in an attempt to avoid COVID spread. Justices have also been attempting to hand out non-custodial sentences when possible for offenders who aren’t deemed a risk to society.

Sarnia joins the other two provincial correction facilities in the region as having a recorded case. All three jails have managed to keep numbers low though.

The Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre in London recorded their second inmate case on Oct. 20 and resolved on Nov. 1. Their only other case was recorded June 11 and resolved 12 days later.

In Windsor, the South West Detention Centre didn’t record an inmate case until Aug. 31. They added their second on Sept. 15, but as of Sept. 27 both were resolved with no new cases since.

Alex Kurial, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Independent