Lockdown at GVI after two more COVID-19 cases reported
The Grand Valley Institution for Women in Kitchener is pictured on Monday, March 7, 2016. (Abigail Bimman / CTV Kitchener)
KITCHENER -- Six inmates and one guard at Grand Valley Institution for Woman have now tested positive for COVID-19, according to the union of Canadian Correctional Officers.
That's two more inmates than the union's update on March 31.
The guard is currently at home where he is experiencing mild symptoms.
The union says any guard that has to come into close contact with an infected inmate is given personal protective equipment (PPE), though “the type of PPE require to perform our work safely continues to be a source of anxiety among the membership at GVI.”
They did not give a further explanation as to their specific concerns.
A total of 24 tests have come back negative.
The union for correctional officers says it is working to restrict the routines and movements of its inmates in an effort to stop the spread of the virus.
“The inmate was provided a mask and access to a single washroom that no other inmate accesses at this time,” said Martine Rondeau. “We are closely and carefully following direction from public health officials.”
The CSC also said other inmates who had been living in close contact with the first case were self-isolating, and all living spaces were cleaned and disinfected.
GVI has also suspended visits, temporary absences, work release and transfers in response, as well as enhancing screening for anyone entering the institution.
The union for correctional officers is also responding to calls from organizations like the Elizabeth Fry Society. They’re asking for the release of those considered a low-security risk, those who are close to being released, and anyone who is vulnerable to the virus.
The union says it “would not solve the potential spread of COVID-19 in our facilities” and “would only increase the risk for Canadians.”
They point to the case of Eustachio Gallese. On Jan. 22 the 51-year-old was on day parole when he allegedly murdered a sex worker in Quebec City. Gallese has been charged with first-degree murder.
“We need not look further than the recent tragedy in Quebec involving the murder of a citizen by an inmate on day parole to understand that even inmates on conditional release may pose a threat to society,” says the union. “Canada is in crisis, and its citizens are already dealing with a potentially deadly threat. It is irresponsible to introduce further threats to our communities.”
As of April 4, GVI is the only institution in Ontario where inmates have tested positive for COVID-19.