Coronavirus: Saskatchewan government detaining people who won’t self-isolate

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WATCH: The Ministry of Corrections and Policing says Regina's White Birch Remand Centre is being used as an "isolation centre” for people "unwilling" or "unable" to self-isolate. Roberta Bell has the story – May 13, 2020

The Saskatchewan government is detaining people who are allegedly not self-isolating and putting them in a place where prisoners who are awaiting bail or trial are usually held.

According to the Ministry of Policing and Corrections, the White Birch Remand Centre in Regina is being used as an “isolation centre” for those “unwilling or unable to follow the self-isolation orders established by the chief medical officer of Saskatchewan.”

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The government is calling it a “last resort” to prevent people from spreading coronavirus “in situations where other approaches have not been effective or appropriate.”

One COVID-19 patient is currently being detained at the remand centre, according to the ministry. The facility has room for up to eight people.

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“Staff at the centre are using all necessary safety precautions recommended for working with individuals who are COVID-19-positive,” said Noel Busse, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Justice. “This includes the use of PPE, ongoing cleaning of areas and surfaces, and maintaining appropriate physical distancing as much as possible.”

The White Birch Remand Centre is currently the only facility in Saskatchewan being used to detain people who are not following the province’s public health order.

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Staff at the remand centre are working with public health authorities to provide appropriate medical care to those being detained, said the government.

Those operating the centre include sheriffs and employees from the safer communities and neighbourhoods branch in the Ministry of Corrections and Policing.


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