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Coronavirus: Ontario government suspends personal visits at adult jails, intermittent inmate stays

New spike in COVID-19 cases in Ontario
WATCH ABOVE: Nineteen new cases of coronavirus in Ontario were announced on Friday, bringing the total number of patients to 79 in the province. Kamil Karamali reports.

As the Ontario government continues to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak, the province is tightening up visits at jails and correctional facilities.

The government made the announcement in a statement released Friday night.

The statement said personal visits at adult correctional facilities will be temporarily suspended as of Saturday, adding the restriction will be in place “until further notice.” Visits with legal counsel will be allowed to continue.

READ MORE: Ontario confirms 19 new cases of coronavirus, bringing provincial total to 79

It was also announced that as of Friday, intermittent inmates who serve sentences on weekends will have to go to their reporting facility to be given a temporary absence from custody. They will then be allowed to go home.

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“Intermittent inmates have already been deemed low-risk by the courts and remain in the community Monday to Friday to live and work,” the government said.

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According to the statement, the decisions were made “out of an abundance of caution” and in an effort “to protect the health and safety of our correctional services staff and those in our custody.”

READ MORE: Toronto closing licensed child care centres, recreation centres, libraries

It’s unclear why the decisions were released late Friday, but an Ontario government spokesperson said as of Friday there were no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the province’s correctional facilities.

As of Friday, there were 79 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ontario.