KENORA – OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas is praising corrections members at Kenora Jail for their swift action in containing an outbreak of COVID-19 among inmates.
“Our corrections members know there are a large number of cases in other jurisdictions, particularly in the federal correctional system,” said Thomas. “They are determined to do everything possible to prevent COVID-19 from spreading in Ontario correctional facilities and they successfully contained an outbreak in Kenora.
In the first week of June, the Kenora Jail began offering voluntary COVID-19 testing for staff and inmates. On June 6, public health informed staff that two inmates had tested positive for COVID-19, although they were asymptomatic.
Workers acted quickly to isolate the two positive inmates. The two ranges where the inmates were housed were scrubbed and the inmates remaining in those areas were placed on droplet precautions.
Contact tracing was done for staff and inmates who may have been exposed to the two people infected, while two additional inmate areas, deemed at risk for exposure, were also placed on droplet precaution.
Northwestern Health Unit began testing for all staff and inmates. Once completed, all tests came back negative. On June 19, secondary tests of the two inmates also came back negative.
OPSEU First Vice-President/Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida, himself a correctional officer, says he is proud of how staff at the Kenora jail stopped COVID-19 in its tracks.
“I’m extremely proud of our members. All you have to do is look at the minimal COVID-19 numbers in our facilities to see how effectively they’ve limited the spread of the coronavirus. Now that’s a job well done.”
“Quite simply put, our corrections members are the best in the country, bar none,” added Thomas. “What took place at the Kenora Jail is just further proof of that.”