The Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) has confirmed that an inmate at Mountain Institution in Agassiz has tested positive for COVID-19.
Lucinda Fraser, a CSC media spokesperson, said new admissions to federal corrections and inmates returning to an institution from the community are medically isolated for 14 days before they are transferred to their home institution.
Fraser said the individual who was confirmed positive for COVID-19 was among 15 inmates who were placed in isolation on May 4 at Matsqui Institution in Abbotsford before being transferred to their home institutions at Matsqui, Mountain, Pacific, and Kent, and Kwìkwèxwelhp Healing Village.
She said one of three inmates transferred to Mountain reported “a mild symptom” of COVID-19 to a nurse.
“Immediate action was taken to isolate and test all three inmates transferred to the site. One test subsequently returned positive for COVID-19 while the other two came back negative,” Fraser said.
She said contract tracing began immediately.
Fraser said all 15 inmates who were initially admitted to Matsqui were medically isolated in their respective institution and broader testing is being conducted for COVID-19.
All inmates in close contact with any of the 15 inmates have also been placed into medical isolation until test results come back and the situation at all five affected sites can be reassessed, Fraser said.
Testing for all employees at Matsqui and Mountain Institutions who had contact with the inmate is being offered by Fraser Health Authority, she said.
Fraser said all five sites have been thoroughly cleaned, and common areas and high-contact surfaces were disinfected.
She said, as an added precaution, personal protective equipment is available and being used. Masks have been provided to all inmates and staff, and they are required to wear them.
“We are closely and carefully following direction from public health officials, while following strict protocols to avoid further spread in the institutions,” Fraser said.
Concerns about the spread of COVID-19 in the prison system were amplified starting last month, when Mission Institution recorded Canada’s worst prison outbreak.