The renovated North Unit day room at the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility. Photo: Halifax Examiner

Nearly a third of prisoners at the Burnside jail has COVID-19.

The province first announced the outbreak at the jail, the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility in a news release last week. As the Halifax Examiner reported on Friday, the province said there were 31 cases:

It said no one has been hospitalized, and none of the cases are in the female unit of the jail. “Several staff” have also tested positive, the government said.

There are no confirmed cases at other provincial facilities.

“Measures are in place to minimize the spread of the virus, including distribution of medical masks, restrictions on movement through the facility, increased cleaning and disinfecting. The situation is being monitored closely and assessed daily,” the government said in the release.

In an email on Tuesday, Justice Department spokesperson Heather Fairbairn told the Examiner 74 prisoners have tested positive as of Monday. As of last Wednesday, there were 233 prisoners at the jail, meaning about 32% of them have tested positive.

There are still no hospitalizations, no cases in the women’s unit, and no cases in other provincial jails, Fairbairn said. The number of staff positive or isolating is still reported as “several.”

“For operational and safety reasons a further breakdown of staff cases cannot be provided,” Fairbairn said.

Meanwhile in federal prisons, there are 20 cases of COVID-19 reported at the Nova Institute for Women, and one case at the Springhill Institution. The Correctional Services of Canada site listing those cases said it would be updated on Tuesday.

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Zane Woodford is the Halifax Examiner’s municipal reporter. He covers Halifax City Hall and contributes to our ongoing PRICED OUT housing series. Twitter @zwoodford

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