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Montreal correctional services officers urge government to recognize COVID-19 risks in prisons
MONTREAL -- Following the reporting of COVID-19 cases among officers and inmates of the Montreal Detention Establishment, the Union of Peace Officers in Correctional Services of Quebec (SAPSCQ-CSN), is urging the Quebec government to take action and prevent the situation from escalating.
"Since the start of the crisis, we have been working with the Ministry of Public Security to put in place means to prevent the spread of the coronavirus," said union President Mathieu Lavoie in a news release. “However, we realize that not everyone in government takes the situation seriously. It was clear that the question was not even on the Premier's radar when he was questioned on this issue in a press briefing.”
In addition to the nine officers who have tested positive in different establishments in Quebec, the union noted that several other officers have been removed from their workplace preventively in the last week after showing symptoms or being in contact with symptomatic individuals.
"We have been asking the government for a long time to allow nurses present in prisons to be able to test for COVID-19," said Lavoie. “It is important that we detect patients quickly and that staff have access to the appropriate protective equipment so that we can limit the risk of contagion.”
As of April 21, over 100 inmates and nearly 90 staff members tested positive for COVID-19 in federal prisons across Quebec, according to Correctional Services Canada.
With files from CTV Montreal's Katelyn Thomas.