BOWDEN – Correctional Service Canada (CSC) says all “necessary actions” are being made to deal with a COVID-19 outbreak at Bowden Institution that has infected 15 inmates and 10 staff members.
“We are closely monitoring the situation and measures are in place to minimize spread of the virus within the institution,” said an April 28 news release that detailed the outbreak of a total of 25 staff members and inmates at the institution. “This is an evolving situation and we continue to apply infection prevention and control measures to prevent and contain the spread of COVID-19, and adapt based on public health advice.”
The CSC news release said Bowden inmate testing numbers are updated daily from Monday to Friday and are available on its website.
As of April 29, the government agency is reporting 3,159 total COVID-19 tests at Bowden Institution with 17 positive inmate tests to date. No deaths have been reported. The CSC website also reports two recoveries, and 15 active cases.
The number of active cases currently reported for Bowden Institution may change as more testing is conducted and laboratory-confirmed results are available, said the CSC.
As for the most recent 25 positive COVID-19 cases, the CSC said contact tracing has been completed and testing for COVID-19 is being offered to all inmates and staff at the institution. The government agency added it is currently using rapid tests to help detect positive cases more quickly and take necessary actions accordingly.
“We continue to actively screen all individuals entering the institution and decisions regarding access to the site as well as programs and services are being made in consultation with public health authorities,” said the CSC news release. “All staff and inmates are equipped with medical masks, and we have increased cleaning and disinfecting throughout the site.”
As well, the CSC said it is currently rolling out the second phase of its vaccination strategy and has offered COVID-19 vaccines to inmates and employees at the site.
“We are committed to reducing the risks of COVID-19 in all of our operations and keeping our employees, inmates and the public safe,” said the CSC. “We continue to work with the Public Health Agency of Canada, local public health, as well as unions and stakeholders, to take any further steps needed to ensure everyone's safety.”
Bowden Institution is a correctional facility in Red Deer County with separate minimum and medium-security units. The medium security unit has a capacity for 470 inmates, while the minimum-security unit can accommodate up to 130 inmates. Family visits have been temporarily suspended at Bowden Institution.
The most recent vaccination clinics at Bowden Institution took place between April 22 and 28. In January, 600 older, medically vulnerable inmates were vaccinated across the country during Phase 1 of CSC’s vaccine rollout.