Bowden’s medium-security unit has a rated capacity of 470 inmates, and the minimum-security unit has a rated capacity of 130 inmates. (File photo by The Canadian Press)

Bowden’s medium-security unit has a rated capacity of 470 inmates, and the minimum-security unit has a rated capacity of 130 inmates. (File photo by The Canadian Press)

COVID infection increases among Drumheller inmates

Central alberta prisons report COVID infections

Active COVID-19 cases at Drumheller Institution have climbed to 58 inmates, while the number of staff infected has dropped to 11.

On Dec. 30, Correctional Services of Canada reported 13 inmates and 41 employees were positive for COVID.

Some of the staff who tested positive in December attended a staff gathering held earlier that month.

Correctional Services said Thursday many of the staff previously reported to be infected have fully recovered. Infected staff are self-isolating at home.

“Employees are also required to do a rapid test and provide a negative result before entering the site to prevent possible spread,” said Correctional Services of Canada in a statement.

Drumheller Institution, a medium-security facility with a minimum-security annex, can hold 582 medium-security inmates and 122 minimum-security inmates.

Related:

38 Drumheller prison staff test positive for COVID-19

In-person visits have been temporarily suspended at Drumheller Institution, as well as Bowden Institution where there are six active cases among staff, but no inmates infected.

Options are available to inmates to connect with their family and support networks.

Bowden’s medium-security unit has a rated capacity of 470 inmates, and the minimum-security unit has a rated capacity of 130 inmates.

Correctional Service Canada has reported outbreaks at 16 federal prisons since the beginning of December 2021, when the Omicron variant first took hold in the country. There were 108 cases active in federal prisons as of Dec. 31, according to the department’s website Tuesday.

Corrections said it continues to apply and reinforce infection prevention and control measures to prevent and contain the spread of COVID-19 and adapts based on public health advice.

All staff and inmates are equipped with level 2 medical masks. Staff may also wear a respirator (KN95/N95) depending on their tasks.

“We have rigorous protocols in place that include extensive testing, both rapid and PCR, use of personal protective equipment and masks, medical isolation, and follow-ups.”

All individuals entering the institutions are screened.

Related:

COVID-19 cases double in Red Deer, compared to last week

Correctional Service Canada began vaccinating inmates in January 2021, and vaccine continues to be offered to inmates and new admissions.

Third doses have started to be offered to all offenders in institutions and correctional community centers across Canada who had their second dose over five months ago.



szielinski@reddeeradvocate.com

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