THUNDER BAY – NEWS – There are COVID-19 outbreaks at both the Thunder Bay District Jail and the Thunder Bay Correctional Centre.
Andrew Morrison, a spokesperson with the Ministry of the Solicitor General tells NetNewsLedger, “The ministry is aware that the Thunder Bay District Health Unit has declared COVID-19 outbreaks at the Thunder Bay Jail and the Thunder Bay Correctional Centre. Local public health authorities determine case thresholds for a declared institutional outbreak. Each facility has its own pandemic plan in place prepared in consultation with local public health partners.”
“The ministry is coordinating the transfer of a portion of the current Thunder Bay Jail (TBJ) inmate population to help maintain the safety and security of those inmates that will remain at the facility. Transferring TBJ inmates will also help prevent the risk of infection of COVID-19 at the facility and create additional capacity to manage close contact isolation requirements”.
“Any COVID-19 positive inmates transferred from TBJ from to other provincial correctional facilities would be placed on droplet and contact precautions and isolated from the rest of the inmate population while they receive appropriate medical care. Verified inmate COVID-19 cases at all Ontario adult correctional facilities are posted online.”
Protecting the health and safety of correctional services staff and those in provincial custody is the ministry’s top priority. The ministry has developed COVID-19 protocols for provincial correctional facilities, in alignment with the Ministry of Health and public health partners. Any inmate that tests positive for COVID-19 is placed on droplet and contact precautions and isolated from the rest of the inmate population while they receive appropriate medical care. The ministry continues to work with the Thunder Bay District Health Unit to support testing of inmates and staff to inform contact tracing and help determine any isolation and further testing requirements for high risk close contacts.
The ministry has its own supply of COVID-19 vaccines and makes the vaccine available to all eligible inmates on an ongoing basis. Ministry clinical staff have access to inmate vaccination records via the provincial COVAX system.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the ministry has made important operational changes across all provincial correctional facilities including:
- Screening and testing all newly admitted inmates, with their consent
- Housing all newly admitted inmates in a separate area from the general population for 14 days
- Providing masks to inmates, if required
- Providing personal protective equipment for all staff
- Requiring all staff to wear a mask at all times while at the facility and eye protection, as necessary.
- Requiring visitors to wear masks at all times while at the facility
- Requiring temperature checks for staff and visitors
- Working with local public health units to test inmates and staff as appropriate.
- Increased cleaning measures