The Kent Institution COVID-19 outbreak has entered its fourth week with cases climbing up to 93 infections and at least 18 employee infections.
As of Jan. 18, Correctional Service Canada reports 35 inmates are considered recovered from COVID-19, leaving 58 active cases. The outbreak began on Dec. 29 with 18 employees and two inmates testing positive for COVID-19. The number of inmates testing positive would grow to 33 by Jan. 5 and 41 by Jan. 12.
The number of employee cases of COVID-19 does not appear to have increased.
To date during this outbreak, 241 COVID-19 tests have been administered to Kent Institution inmates with 93 returning positive.
“Everyone’s health and safety continues to be our top priority,” said CSC spokesperson Lucinda Fraser. “This is an evolving situation and we continue to apply and reinforce infection prevention and control measures to prevent and contain the spread of COVID-19 and adapt based on public health advice.”
There is an active outbreak at Kwíkwèxwelhp Healing Lodge as well, which began Jan. 11. 10 inmates have tested positive for COVID-19. There have been no inmate deaths associated with either outbreak.
Kent Institution employees are required to provide a negative COVID-19 test result before entering the institution. According to Fraser, if a staff member tests positive for COVID-19, they are sent home and will be away from the workplace until they are deemed safe to return according to CSC and public health standards.
Fraser said the institution has not brought back any COVID-positive staff to work unless they are fully recovered.
“Our return to work protocols for asymptomatic high-risk contacts meet or exceed provincial public health guidance in all cases,” Fraser added.
At nearby Mountain Institution, there was one inmate case of COVID-19; the inmate has since been listed as recovered as of Jan. 5.
Last March, the Kent Institution had an outbreak of 10 employees who tested positive for COVID-19. It was discovered that this outbreak originated in the community rather than at the prison; no inmates tested positive for COVID-19 at that time.
As of publication, 67.5 per cent of the Kent Institution inmate population has been fully vaccinated (72.5 per cent partially vaccinated). About 23 per cent of inmates have received a booster. At Mountain Institution, 83.4 per cent of inmates are fully vaccinated (87.1 per cent partially vaccinated). 58.5 per cent of inmates have received a booster. Kwìkwèxwelhp Healing Lodge is 100 per cent partially vaccinated and 95 per cent fully vaccinated. 90 per cent of inmates have received a booster.