March 27, 2020

Update On COVID-19 Measures Being Taken In Correctional Facilities

The Ministry of Corrections and Policing is taking significant steps to reduce the potential spread of COVID-19 in provincial correctional facilities.

At this time, we can confirm that two staff at Saskatoon Correctional Centre have been identified as having COVID-19 through testing.  These staff have been directed by public health authorities to self-isolate at home, and Corrections is working with public health authorities to determine who these individuals might have come into contact with within the correctional facility and what measures need to be taken as a result.

Staff who believe they are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 are asked to contact a health care provider and to notify their supervisor of their concerns.  We are working with health authorities to ensure corrections workers, like other essential service providers, receive priority testing for COVID-19.

Corrections will work with public health authorities to determine next steps if it is confirmed that a staff member has COVID-19.

Currently, no offenders in provincial correctional facilities have been confirmed as having COVID-19.  There is currently one unit at the Saskatoon Correctional Centre on quarantine as a precautionary measure for what is believed to be a non-COVID-19 illness.

The ministry is exploring how to more effectively manage the sentenced offender population in our provincial correctional facilities in light of the COVID-19 outbreak, and is using existing infrastructure and program space within correctional facilities to create additional separation between offenders and staff.

Nurses watch for symptoms of illness in the offender population and if symptoms are identified, they ensure prompt assessment, testing, documenting and reporting of offenders suspected or confirmed to have a communicable disease.

When there is a suspected illness among the offender population in a custody facility, the facility director ensures that disease specific precautions are put in place, including the use of medical cells or other isolated areas.

Personal protective equipment is being provided to corrections staff and offenders based on criteria established by the World Health Organization and public health authorities.

Other measures being taken include:

  • restricting the movement and placement of offenders within the facility;
  • suspending or limiting programming to smaller groups of offenders to ensure adequate social distancing;
  • increased communication to staff and offenders about proper hygiene and contagious disease precautions;
  • enhancing cleaning protocols in all facilities for common areas and equipment; and
  • thorough and regular handwashing with soap and water by facility staff.