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Staff member tests positive for COVID-19 at B.C. federal prison

A case of COVID-19 has been confirmed at the Mountain Institution, a federal prison in Agassiz, B.C.
A case of COVID-19 has been confirmed at the Mountain Institution, a federal prison in Agassiz, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

There has been a second new case of COVID-19 linked to a B.C. federal prison.

One inmate at the Mountain Institution in Agassiz, who had transferred through the Matsqui Institution, was confirmed to have the novel coronavirus on Thursday.

On Saturday, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said a corrections staff member has now also tested positive.

It was not immediately clear which of the two institutions the employee works at.

The union representing Canadian correctional officers said Saturday that one of its members, who works at the Kent Institution in Agassiz, tested positive for the virus on Thursday.

“CSC reports on confirmed employee cases of COVID-19 that are disclosed to us,” said a spokesperson in an email Sunday.

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“We can confirm one staff member who was not working at a CSC facility has tested positive for COVID-19 and this is not related to the inmate who tested positive for COVID-19 at Mountain Institution.”

Earlier Saturday, the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) said there were early indications no other inmates had been infected.

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The infected prisoner and 14 other inmates had been isolated for two weeks at the Matsqui prison before being incarcerated in five different institutions.

READ MORE: COVID-19 case confirmed at federal prison in Agassiz, B.C.

On Saturday, the CSC said the other 14 inmates had all returned negative tests.

“The inmates will remain in medical isolation for a 14-day period as advised by public health,” said the CSC in a statement.

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On Thursday, Dr. Henry said the inmate had been “identified early and has very few risky contacts.”

READ MORE: Coronavirus: First federal inmate death reported at B.C. prison as case count climbs

Two of the other inmates in the intake batch were also transferred to the Mountain Institution, while the remainder were distributed to the Matsqui, Pacific and Kent Institutions, and Kwìkwèxwelhp Healing Village.

The Mountain Institution is the third federal prison in B.C. to record cases of COVID-19.

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A single employee was diagnosed with the disease at the Fraser Valley Institution for Women in Abbotsford. The Mission Institution saw 120 positive cases and one fatality.