On Friday, the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees announced a correctional officer in his 50s working at the Fort Saskatchewan Correctional Centre had died after contracting COVID-19. Contributed photo

On Friday, the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees announced a correctional officer in his 50s working at the Fort Saskatchewan Correctional Centre had died after contracting COVID-19. Contributed photo

Five COVID cases reported at Red Deer Remand Centre

Other prisons have been much harder hit

Three staff and two inmates at Red Deer Remand Centre have been diagnosed with COVID-19 infections, says Alberta Justice.

An outbreak was declared on Nov. 28 at the facility, which has a staff of 72 overseeing up to 146 inmates and is located next to the Red Deer Provincial Courthouse.

Red Deer Remand has only recorded a handful of cases so far, compared to other facilities, and is not on current outbreak status.

Other prisons have been much harder hit. Calgary Remand Centre reportedly had 262 cases, including 226 inmates, 35 staff and one contractor, as of last Saturday.

Earlier this month, the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees announced a correctional officer in his 50s working at the Fort Saskatchewan Correctional Centre had died after contracting COVID-19.

Families of inmates and lawyers who had clients behind bars were critical of the Calgary Remand Centre’s handling of the pandemic and the lack of masks for inmates and the bleated use of masks by prison staff.

The wife of an inmate at Red Deer Remand Centre told the Advocate she was concerned about the lack of protection available to her husband and other inmates.

Guards had access to gloves and masks but prisoners do not, she said. Some already have medical issues that make them more vulnerable.

“They have no masks at all. They’re just wearing their regular inmate clothes,” she said.

“It’s not fair that your guards can come in wearing masks and full PPE gear and the inmates are not given masks at all.”

The woman, who lives in Calgary, said it was stressful to think that her husband could be exposed to the virus and possibly bring it home when he is released.

The woman said she plans to contact Alberta Health Services and prison officials to urge them to make masks readily available to inmates.

Alberta Justice says COVID-19 is taken seriously — at all provincial correctional and remand facilities.

“Precautions and preventative actions include using robust infection prevention protocols for the safety of both provincial inmates and staff,” says Alberta Justice in a statement.

“There is a strong partnership with AHS, as they provide onsite inmate health care services delivery, including the implementation of COVID -19 protocols.”

Many safety protocols have been in place since March.

All incoming inmates are tested for the virus and quarantined for two weeks and then kept in the same cohort to limit the potential for the infection to spread between groups.

Inmates showing any symptoms are medically isolated to prevent possible infection spread.

“Inmates who have tested positive are separated into small groups, as per medical officer of health guidelines. This aids physical distancing and restricts transmission between groups, as per AHS guidelines.”

“Physical distancing, regular hand washing/hand sanitizer and masking when unable to maintain a minimum of two metres with others are ongoing protections.”

“When out of their cells all quarantining inmates have room to maintain physical distancing, and where this is not possible PPE is provided.”

Outside visits have been suspended as have all adult and youth inmate programs, unless approved through senior management and AHS.

Staff are screened for symptoms before each shift and AHS correctional health service staff and corrections manager monitor the facility daily to ensure guidelines and processes are followed, says Alberta Justice.



pcowley@reddeeradvocate.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Best of Lacombe
Vote for the Best of Lacombe Readers’ Choice Awards 2021

Vote until June 6th, and the results will be published June 24th, 2021

Karlee Prins standing in front of Lacombe City Cinema. (Photo Submitted)
Lacombe resident creates Go Fund Me page to help ailing Lacombe City Cinema

Karlee Prins created a Go Fund Me Page the help the local theatre and family who own it

(Photo Courtesy of Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools)
Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools will not pilot draft curriculum

RDCRS is one of many divisions in the area to opt out of the pilot of the K-6 draft curriculum

FILE - In this March 3, 2021, file photo, a vial of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine is displayed at South Shore University Hospital in Bay Shore, N.Y. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)
Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine can be given to adults 30+ who can’t wait for mRNA: NACI

Panel says single shot vaccine can be especially useful for populations unable to return for second shot

Alberta’s environment department has known for years that toxins from old coal mines are contaminating populations of the province’s official animal, the bighorn sheep. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Craig Bihrl
Alberta government knew bighorn sheep contaminated with coal mine selenium, scientist says

Jeff Kneteman says Alberta Environment has known about the problem in bighorn sheep for years

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau receives his COVID-19 AstraZeneca vaccination in Ottawa, Friday, April 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
75% of Canadians need 1st vaccine dose to have more normal summer: Trudeau

The country is on track to hit a major milestone on the road to COVID-19 herd immunity Tuesday, with 40% vaccinated with a 1st dose

A vial of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio
Alberta to stop giving first doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 shot as supply dwindles

There aren’t any confirmed shipments of AstraZeneca coming, and the province only has 8,400 doses of it left

Winnipeg Jets’ Andrew Copp (9) and Edmonton Oilers goaltender Mike Smith (41) watch an incoming shot during second period NHL action in Winnipeg, Monday, April 26, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Greenslade
‘Very jealous’: Canadian teams can’t take advantage of NHL’s relaxed COVID-19 rules

League eased some tight COVID-19 health and safety protocols over the weekend for fully vaccinated clubs

File photo
Arrest made for armed robbery in Millet, Wetaskiwin RCMP continue to investigate

Wetaskiwin RCMP are investigating an armed robbery took place May 4, 2021 in Millet, Alta.

Dr. Karina Pillay, former mayor of Slave Lake, Alta., is shown at her medical clinic in Calgary on Friday, April 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
10 years later: Former Slave Lake mayor remembers wildfire that burned through town

Alberta announced in 2011 that an unknown arsonist had recklessly or deliberately ignited the forest fire

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman travelling from Alberta found dead in B.C. park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

A caribou grazes on Baffin Island in a 2008 file photo. A last-ditch attempt to save some of Canada’s vanishing caribou herds is a step closer after a scientific review panel’s approval of a plan to permanently pen some animals and breed them to repopulate other herds. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kike Calvo via AP Images
Parks Canada captive caribou breeding proposal gets OK from scientific review panel

Wolf density in Jasper is low enough that the animals would not be expected to be a major threat

Most Read