Six new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed among inmates at the Vancouver Island Regional Correctional Centre, causing concern for the health and safety of them and staff members alike.
The six cases were confirmed among a number of suspected cases over the weekend of Oct. 2 and 3 said Paul Finch, a spokesperson for the B.C. General Employees Union, representing the correctional and administrative staff of the Saanich jail.
The new cases demonstrate a need to improve health and safety standards at the facility for the sake of all who inhabit it, Finch said. “We want BC Corrections to adopt what our occupational health and safety groups are saying on the ground.”
That includes a cleaning routine spaced between the day-to-day structure of inmate activities which could be more robust. He added there should be better practices for isolating infected inmates in a manner that isn’t punitive.
But both come down to the matter of funding, Finch said.
“The sudden surge in cases indicates that there’s an issue of transmission occurring. We think that the (Vancouver Island Regional Correctional Centre) and Correction BC have an obligation to take proactive measures to fix the gaps here,” Finch said. “One of the big issues we had at the outset of the pandemic was that BC Corrections did not want to put up basic things like plexiglass at some of the staff stations.”
BC Corrections did not respond to request for comment by the time of publication.
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