The Canadian Penitentiary now reports 14 COVID-19 cases at the Mission Institution in Fraser Valley, BC, and medium-security prisons are now locked up.
Lawyers working with inmates at federal facilities said the outbreak was alarming mainly because CSC only reported two cases earlier this week.
“I think it’s terrible,” said Adrienne Smith, a Vancouver lawyer who has a client in prison.
“I think it will be very difficult if it is not possible to prevent a widespread outbreak in one of the penal facilities in British Columbia,” he added.
Mission Institution has done 36 tests, with 21 pending on Thursday.
Those who work with inmates say it is not enough and worry about the safety of prisoners and other staff.
“There is concern that ‘I don’t know whether I will be able to get out alive,’ said Dr. John Farley, an infectious doctor who has worked with prisoners at the Mission Institute for 12 years.
He thinks further testing needs to be done on inmates, correctional officers and nurses working in prisons.
In a statement, Canada’s Penitentiary Service told CBC News that they were testing and isolating medically inmates who were showing symptoms and working with public health to track any contact.
CSC said it continued to suspend prisoner visits, release of work for prisoners and all inter-regional and international transfers, and also had suspended programs and jobs that were not important and had implemented modified routines to limit arrivals and departures.
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