COVID-19 outbreak at Milton jail prompts new admissions to be diverted to other facilities: solicitor general
Published Saturday, January 23, 2021 6:58PM EST
Last Updated Sunday, January 24, 2021 6:06AM EST
The Ministry of the Solicitor-General said Saturday that Maplehurst Correctional Complex will not admit new inmates as the facility continues to deal with a COVID-19 outbreak.
Greg Flood, a spokesperson for the ministry, said in a statement sent to CTV News Toronto that they are working with police "to divert new admits" to other facilities. The outbreak at the Milton jail declared earlier this week has resulted in 90 inmates and 26 staff testing positive for COVID-19.
"The ministry continues to work with its justice partners to reduce the number of individuals coming into custody across Ontario. These decisions are based on a number of factors to ensure community safety remains paramount," Flood said.
The correctional facility is in full lockdown to ensure isolation of inmates and reduce further spread of COVID-19. Flood said the ministry is working to provide inmates access to showers and phone calls while following COVID-19 protocols.
"The health and safety of our staff and those in custody remains a top priority," he said.
On Friday, OPSEU Local 234 President Peter Figliola asked for a pause on the admission of any new inmates for the time being, given the size of the outbreak.
Flood noted that voluntary testing among staff and inmates continues at the facility.
The ministry is also temporarily suspending any in-person court transfers from the correctional facility, adding that it will continue to use video courts and audio courts.
The outbreak comes just weeks after another outbreak at Toronto South Detention Centre resulted in 61 positive cases. There were also 20 active cases at Thunder Bay Jail as of Tuesday.