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131 COVID cases confirmed at EMDC since outbreak declared on Jan. 4: MLHU

Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre in London, Ont. Andrew Graham / Global News

An active COVID-19 outbreak at London’s provincial jail, declared during the height of the Omicron wave, is beginning to ease, with the number of active cases among inmates now nearly half what it was a week ago.

The Middlesex-London Health Unit declared an outbreak at the Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre on Jan. 4. At the time, there was one confirmed active inmate case, provincial data shows.

In that time, at least 83 cases involving inmates and 48 involving correctional staff – a combined total of 131 – have been reported, the health unit says.

The number of active inmate cases at the jail hit a peak of 69 on Dec. 12 and 13. The number stood at 57 as of Wednesday, and fell further to 39 as of Friday, according to provincial data and the health unit.

At least seven cases were active involving staff at the jail as of Friday.

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“Members of the MLHU staff are in contact with EMDC to discuss matters related to outbreak prevention and control, including the reinforcement of public health guidance, environmental cleaning and other recommendations,” the health unit said in a statement.

It’s not clear if any hospitalizations resulted from any of the reported cases. Few other details have been made available.

The outbreak is at least the second to be declared at the facility during the COVID-19 pandemic, following one that was active from Jan. 18 to May 15 of 2021.

Roughly 60 inmate cases were reported during the 2021 outbreak, according to provincial figures.

Read more: 28 in isolation amid COVID-19 outbreak at The Salvation Army Centre of Hope in London, Ont.

In an emailed statement, Andrew Morrison, a spokesperson for the Ministry of the Solicitor General, said any inmate who tests positive for COVID-19 is placed on droplet and contact precautions and is isolated from the rest of the jail’s inmate population.

He notes that operational changes at provincial jails, put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic, ensure all newly admitted inmates are screened and tested with their consent, and housed in a separate area from the general population for 14 days.

Masks are also provided to inmates, if required, while PPE is provided to staff, he said.

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“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.”

Click to play video: 'COVID-19 outbreak closes Brockville Jail' COVID-19 outbreak closes Brockville Jail
COVID-19 outbreak closes Brockville Jail – Dec 15, 2021

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