COVID-19 hits serial killer Pickton’s prison

Quebec’s Port-Cartier Institution only federal prison with positive tests

The only federal prison where an inmate has tested positive for COVID-19 is the one housing B.C. serial killer Robert Pickton. 

There have been two positive tests for inmates at COVID-19 at Port-Cartier. Another test result is pending. The names of the positive inmates have not been released.

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It is the only federal prison out of 50 across Canada where positive results have been found.

Eleven employees at the institution have also tested positive and are at home in isolation, Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) said in a statement.

“As soon as a positive result was reported for one employee last week, additional people were tested based on public health contact tracing, which led to the early detection of these other cases,” CSC said.

The two inmates are medically isolated from the general inmate population and the institution has been on lockdown.

Pickton is the Port Coquitlam man convicted of second-degree murder in 2007 in the deaths of six Downtown Eastside sex workers. He is serving his sentence without possibility of parole until 2032 at Quebec’s Port-Cartier Institution.Test results are pending at Quebec’s Joliette Institution, Ontario’s Grand Valley Institution for Women and Alberta’s Edmonton Institution.

Sixteen negative tests were returned at Alberta’s Bowden Institution. 

In Saskatchewan, there were six negatives at Regional Psychiatric Centre and four at Saskatchewan Penitentiary. 

In B.C. there were three negatives at Fraser Valley Institution for Women and four at Pacific Institution/RTC/RRAC.

Single negative test results have returned at:

• New Brunswick’s Dorchester Medium Institution; 

• Quebec’s Archambault Institution Medium-min-CRSM, Cowansville Institution and Federal Training Centre; 

• Ontario’s Beaver Creek Minimum Institution, Grand Valley Institution for Women, Joyceville Institution, Joyceville Medium Institution, Millhaven Regional Treatment Centre; 

• Alberta’s Edmonton Institution and Grande Cache Institution; and

• Manitoba’s Stony Mountain Medium Institution.

CSC spokesperson Esther Mailhot said the service is working closely with public health. Symptomatic people meeting public health criteria for COVID-19 are assessed and provided with immediate clinical interventions, including testing as needed. 

“If employees are tested, they do so in their communities,” Mailhot said. “As soon as we are advised of a positive test, we engage with local public health to implement a number of measures such as trace managing any contacts the employee had, ensuring self-isolation, working with public health regarding further testing required and disinfecting the site.”

Further, she said, the service takes immediate action when an employee is symptomatic, including thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting the work space and ensuring the employee self isolates at home until cleared to return to work.

She also noted that CSC does not comment on the medical conditions of inmates or employees, and it does not disclose prisoner locations under privacy law.


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