The deputy warden at the Saskatchewan Penitentiary in Prince Albert is not sure how the COVID-19 virus got in to the facility.

Lee Anne Skene said Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) is working to find out how 24 inmates in the medium security unit contracted the virus.

“We are actively contact tracing, however [we have] not completed those contact tracing steps,” she said.

As of Monday afternoon there were no reports of any staff at the prison testing positive for the virus. Skene explained they were still in the process of testing staff, but she credits them following health protocols for there not being any positive cases so far.

“Some of that would be as a result of the mandatory masks and the health screening and the diligence that the staff was doing,” she said.

She added active health screening is done when people come to and leave work. This involves taking temperatures and having people wash their hands.

With the current situation, staff who have contact with offenders who have tested positive are being issued extra personal protective equipment. Some staff in the medium security unit are also now working remotely.

Currently no offenders are coming in to the facility. Skene added before the current outbreak offenders who were coming from the outside were being quarantined for 14 days.

Skene added they have also increased cleaning in the areas where infected offenders are. Currently no new offenders are coming into the facility. She said it could be awhile before it is known how the virus got into the prison.

“There’s significant amounts of contact tracing just with their being 24 positive cases,” she said.