5 federal inmates test positive for COVID-19 as case counts spike across Canada

The Correctional Service of Canada says five inmates have tested positive for COVID-19 in Quebec, Manitoba and Alberta.

It says contact tracing is underway and testing is being offered at the three institutions affected.

Read more: Inmate populations decline across Canada amid coronavirus pandemic

The five inmates — two in Drummondville, Que., one in Stony Mountain, Man., and two at the Edmonton Institution for Women — are medically isolated and being monitored.

Click to play video 'Calls for faster action to stop COVID-19 spread in prisons' Calls for faster action to stop COVID-19 spread in prisons

Calls for faster action to stop COVID-19 spread in prisons – Apr 24, 2020

None of the federal facilities is currently allowing visitors.

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Read more: Coronavirus outbreaks declared over in federal prisons, staff prepare for ‘new normal’

As case counts spike across the country, the correctional service says it continues to screen employees and equip correctional officers and inmates with medical masks, on top of heightened cleaning measures.

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The federal justice and correctional systems have taken several steps to reduce the number of people in custody to lower the risk of transmission, including the early release of low-risk offenders, extended parole and alternatives for those awaiting trial or sentencing.

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

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To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out. In situations where you can’t keep a safe distance from others, public health officials recommend the use of a non-medical face mask or covering to prevent spreading the respiratory droplets that can carry the virus. In some provinces and municipalities across the country, masks or face coverings are now mandatory in indoor public spaces.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

© 2020 The Canadian Press

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