Ontario correctional worker raises concerns about COVID-19 spreading in province’s jails

After a guard tested positive for COVID-19 and new procedures were implemented at correctional facilities earlier this month, there are still mounting concerns from those that work inside Ontario’s jails.

“There is supposed to be active screening of people in place when they enter institutions, but it’s nothing more than a sign at the door, but that is not active screening,” one correctional worker told Global News.

The man works at a correctional facility in the Greater Toronto Area and is in direct contact with inmates. Global News has chosen not to identify him to protect his job.

“There are a whole lot of things that seem to be falling through the cracks,” the worker said.

On Saturday, OPSEU president Warren Thomas said “correctional institutions can be a petri dish in terms of spreading infection and I’m worried the reaction to this threat has been too sluggish.

“We need to get ahead of the danger.”

The worker shares that concern, saying, “When they finally decide they are going to take action, it will be too late.” He says he’s trying to protect his own health by cleaning all surfaces and washing his hands regularly, but adds social distancing isn’t really possible.

“I’m doing what I can … but there needs to be something in line with what the government is telling everyone else to do.”

An internal union email sent to correctional facility staff also is raising questions about whether or not the province is following recommendations from the World Health organization and federal government.

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