BayToday has learned from the Minister of the Solicitor General that more than a quarter of the North Bay Jail staff are currently self-isolating in their home related to the COVID-19 outbreak at the facility.
"The ministry is cautious about providing details on staff absences at provincial correctional facilities for security reasons. However, because of erroneous media reports in other media, the ministry feels compelled to confirm that approximately 30 per cent of North Bay Jail (NBJ) staff are currently self-isolating at home related to the current outbreak at the facility," Andrew Morrison, media relations, Ministry of the Solicitor General.
"The ministry is coordinating the transfer of a portion of the current North Bay Jail inmate population to help mitigate the current staff absences and maintain the safety and security of those inmates that will remain at the facility."
See related: North Bay Jail remains open
Morrison says transferring NBJ inmates will also help prevent the risk of infection of COVID-19 at the facility and create additional capacity to manage close contact isolation requirements.
"Any COVID-19 positive inmates transferred from NBJ from to other provincial correctional facilities would be placed on droplet and contact precautions and isolated from the rest of the inmate population while they receive appropriate medical care. Verified inmate COVID-19 cases at all Ontario adult correctional facilities are posted online," continued Morrison.
The ministry works with the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit to support testing of inmates and staff to inform contact tracing and help determine any isolation and further testing requirements for high risk close contacts.
Earlier this week, the Health Unit confirmed 60 cases linked to the North Bay Jail outbreak.