As originally published by Thia James of the Saskatoon Star Phoenix

What Saskatchewan jails are doing to prevent the spread of COVID-19

SASKATOON,SK-- APRIL 02/2020-9999- The Provincial Corrections Centre in Saskatoon, SK on Thursday, April 2, 2020.(Saskatoon StarPhoenix/Liam Richards)
The Provincial Correctional Centre in Saskatoon on Thursday, April 2, 2020. LIAM RICHARDS / Saskatoon StarPhoenix

To date, five correctional workers at the Saskatoon Correctional Centre have tested positive for COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus. The Ministry of Corrections and Policing has said that no inmates have tested positive for the illness.

The ministry says it is undertaking the following measures, all aimed at protecting staff and inmates from COVID-19:

What Saskatchewan jails are doing to prevent the spread of COVID-19

Disinfectant fogging:

A spokesman said the ministry will conduct fogging at the Saskatoon jail on an ongoing basis, as necessary. He said the ministry has contracted companies for cleaning and disinfecting services at the other correctional facilities; the type of cleaning service to be provided is determined based on the needs of each facility.

Skyview Cleaning conducted fogging at the Saskatoon jail

Dean Slobogian of Skyview said the company uses a hand-held sprayer attached to a tank to spray a mist solution over a wide area. The mist contains Vital Oxide, which he described as a hospital-grade disinfectant that is non-toxic and biodegradable and doesn’t require use of personal protective equipment.

Quote from Dean Slobogian of Skyview Cleaning

The process is quick and focuses on things people touch most often, such as walls, chairs, doorknobs, or light switches, Slobogian said.

Changes affecting entry and exit:

Measures to reduce the risk include postponing court dates and working with court services to use video court appearances. The ministry has also suspended all in-person personal and professional visits until further notice. Staff admitting new inmates are using COVID-19 screening procedures, including medical screening by a nurse.

All new admissions to the provincial jails will be quarantined for 14 days as a precaution before they are placed with the rest of the inmate population.

Focus on hygiene and cleaning:

Corrections is has put restrictions in place for common areas and equipment use. The ministry says it has increased communication to staff and inmates about contagious disease presence and precautions, encouragement of thorough, regular hand washing, cough etiquette and practising social distancing as much as possible, as well as routine cleaning of inmate, common and staff areas and shared items.

Inmates are provided with controlled access to hand sanitizer and soap free of charge, the ministry says.

Social distancing measures:

This includes the suspension of programming that takes place in larger groups. Programs that can be modified to accommodate smaller groups will continue.

The ministry gives the example of changes that were made to the Courage to Change program to allow inmates to work on it individually and review their progress with their case manager.

Connecting inmates to outside supports:

Inmates are able to contact chaplains and Elders by phone in place of in-person meetings; these calls will be free, privileged phone calls. They will also receive two added 10-minute calls daily for no charge.

SOURCE: The Saskatoon Star Phoenix