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Corrections confirms 80 inmates, 4 staff members infected with COVID-19 at Kingston prison

Click to play video 'Major COVID-19 outbreak at Joyceville Institution' Major COVID-19 outbreak at Joyceville Institution
Correctional Service Canada is dealing with a major COVID-19 outbreak at Joyceville Institution in Kingston, Ont. – Dec 18, 2020

According to Correctional Service Canada (CSC), a Kingston, Ont., prison is dealing with a major COVID-19 outbreak.

After receiving multiple tips from family members of inmates at Joyceville Institution, Global News has been able to confirm that 80 inmates and four staff members have tested positive for the virus so far.

An email sent out to staff Wednesday said that over 300 inmates had been tested for the virus.

Read more: New COVID-19 outbreak confirmed at B.C. prison hit hardest by virus in April

When asked about cases at the institution, CSC initially did not confirm the situation but said that it has suspended all in-person visits to Ontario federal prisons as of Wednesday.

Finally, Thursday afternoon, CSC confirmed the major outbreak at the Kingston prison.

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“We are monitoring this situation closely and diligently, and we continue to apply our infection prevention and control measures. We continue to actively screen employees entering all our institutions, and, all employees and inmates in Ontario are being equipped with medical masks and face shields. In addition, testing has been offered to all staff and inmates,” CSC said in an email.

According to KFL&A Public Health, federal prison inmates who test positive do not count in local case counts, but staff members do.

CSC also confirmed that five inmates at Collins Bay and three inmates at Warkworth institutions have tested positive after recently being transferred from Joyceville.

“Based on the initial epidemiological investigation, it appears that the inmates were exposed to the virus at Joyceville Institution,” CSC said.

CSC said all affected inmates are being “medically isolated” in their respective institutions.

“These impacted sites have also modified their institutions’ routines for health purposes in order to mitigate any risk while contact tracing and the initial epidemiological investigation is being conducted. Testing is being offered to all staff and inmates at these institutions,” CSC said.

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