Correctional officer at Port-Cartier Penitentiary gets COVID-19

Alexie André Belisle for Radio Canada
Published on March 26, 2020, at 2:01 PM

A correctional officer at the Port-Cartier Penitentiary is one of three North Shore residents to have contracted COVID-19.

The Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) indicated that the employee in question is now in isolation at home and that measures have been taken to clean up the Port-Cartier Institution. A transfer has also been postponed pending further review of the situation.

For its part, the Centre intégré de santé et de services sociaux (CISSS) de la Côte-Nord has said that an investigation will be conducted to determine the measures to be taken to prevent the spread of the virus within the institution.

The CISSS’s medical officer of health, Dr. Richard Fachehoun, has said that a questionnaire will be administered to each inmate. The goal is to determine if people are showing symptoms or not, because we don’t know their exposure history.

Inmates who show symptoms will be placed in isolation and screened.

Dr. Fachehoun added that measures will also be taken with regard to penitentiary employees. A good part of the staff has been in contact with the case, he admitted. Each staff member will be assessed, and decisions will be made.

The CSC has stated that all employees who have been in contact with the infected correctional officer have been informed.

In a written statement, the Union of Canadian Correctional Officers stated that it intends to monitor the situation very closely to ensure that its members are protected, have access to the necessary equipment and that the directives of public health authorities are followed. Our priority is the health and safety of our members.

The Port-Cartier Penitentiary is a maximum-security institution. These institutions are designed to house offenders who pose a significant threat to public safety and who require a higher level of supervision, according to the CSC website.

With files from Nicolas Lachapelle.