Fraser Health is setting up a Mobile Medical Unit (MMU) at Abbotsford Regional Hospital in order to help treat inmates from Mission Institution. They are also creating a designated, secure site at the hospital for those who have tested positive. / File Photo

Fraser Health is setting up a Mobile Medical Unit (MMU) at Abbotsford Regional Hospital in order to help treat inmates from Mission Institution. They are also creating a designated, secure site at the hospital for those who have tested positive. / File Photo

Mobile Medical Unit set up in Abbotsford to treat COVID-19 outbreak among Mission inmates

Fraser Health also creating a secure site at hospital; 41 positive tests at institution so far

In an attempt to help slow down the outbreak of COVID-19 cases at Mission Institution’s Medium Security Unit, and to treat those who have been infected, Fraser Health has created a Mobile Medical Unit (MMU) at Abbotsford Regional Hospital. They are also creating a designated, secure site at the hospital for those who have tested positive.

“This will enable us to quickly expand our capacity to better care for patients from Mission Institution who require a higher level of care than what can be provided at the federal medical facility,” said Dr. Victoria Lee, president and CEO, Fraser Health.

MORE: Five inmates hospitalized

She said the mobile unit – which is known as a hospital on wheels – will serve as an extension of the hospital site. The unit should be able to provide care for five or six patients before having to open up the designated unit in the hospital.

Lee said the unit and the designated area will have enhanced security.

“We are seeing about two guards to one patient in terms of ratio that have been coming into our sites,” she said.

Lee added what is really important is that Corrections Canada ensures that the inmates are safe and secure as well as, from a hospital perspective, to ensure that the staff and patients are secure.

According to the latest statistics from Corrections Canada, Mission Institution’s medium security unit now has 41 inmates who have tested positive for COVID-19. The only other federal institution in BC with a positive result is the Pacific Regional Treatment Centre, with one.

Six correctional service staff in Mission have also tested positive.

Along with Mission’s 41 positive results, six tests came back negative and 16 tests are still pending for a total of 63 inmates tested.

In total, Canadian federal prisons have 82 confirmed cases of Covid-19, 205 negative tests and 26 tests pending.

READ: 35 positive test at Mission Institution

Asked why Mission has only performed 63 tests on inmates so far, Dr. Martin Lavoie, chief medical health officer, Fraser Health explained that only inmates or other patients who are symptomatic are tested. He said there is no added value in testing asymptomatic people and Fraser Health does not recommend doing that.

The decision to open a Mobile Medical Unit came just a day after the Union of Canadian Correctional Officers (UCCO-SACC-CSN) issued a statement asking local management from Mission Institution to put in place “relevant measures to protect the health of its 155 correctional officers as well as the inmate population, as soon as possible.”

“As soon as the first cases were declared in Port-Cartier Institution in Quebec, measures were undertaken to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The management of Mission Institution needed to take similar immediate steps, but that did not happen,” claims Derek Chin, regional president of the Pacific Region, UCCO-SACC-CSN.

The statement also asks for an immediate stop to the movement of staff between institutions and reduce movement between posts within the institution. It also asks that surgical masks are distributed to all inmates.

“Mission Institution, of all 49 institutions in the country, should not wait on the distribution of masks to inmates and ensure that staff have an adequate supply for their daily work,” said Chin.

Mission Mayor Pam Alexis released a statement about the outbreak on the district website last week.

“The news of cases of COVID-19 at Mission Medium Institution is deeply concerning. This is not only a serious public health issue for the inmates on lockdown and the staff working there, but is a great concern for the staff who are residents of Mission and have families at home and go about their lives within the community,” Alexis wrote.

“Since Monday, myself, District staff and MP Brad Vis have been requesting more information from Corrections Canada about the protocols they have in place to contain this outbreak and keep everyone safe. Corrections Canada staff have reached out to us and we are confident that the appropriate health experts are involved and appropriate measures to control the outbreak, including a full lockdown, are in place. Of critical importance is that these measures include actions that staff must take to protect their families and the outside community.”



kevin.mills@missioncityrecord.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Telkwa Village Office sign. (Marisca Bakker photo)
Three candidates line up to contest Telkwa byelection

Erik Jacobsen, Klaus Kraft and Dave Livesey have all filed their paperwork for vacant council seat

People skate on a lake in a city park in Montreal, Sunday, January 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
The end of hugs: How COVID-19 has changed daily life a year after Canada’s 1st case

Today marks the one year anniversary of COVID-19 landing in Canada

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Employers might be able to require COVID-19 vaccination from employees: B.C. lawyer

‘An employer must make the case’ using expert science, explains lawyer David Mardiros

Ginger Helkenberg, a Recreational Aide at Bulkley Lodge, receives her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine Jan. 22. (Northern Health photo)
COVID-19 vaccinations get underway in Smithers

First doses are being administered to long-term care residents and priority health care staff

Dr. Penny Ballem, a former deputy health minister, discusses her role in leading B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination program, at the B.C. legislature, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. holds steady with 407 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday

14 deaths, no new outbreaks in the health care system

A Cessna 170 airplane similar to the one pictured above is reported to be missing off the waters between Victoria and Washington State. Twitter photo/USCG
Canadian, American rescue crews searching for missing aircraft in waters near Victoria

The search is centered around the waters northeast of Port Angeles

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Jonathon Muzychka and Dean Reber are wanted on Canada-wide warrants. (Courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
Convicted killer, robber at large after failing to return to facility: Victoria police

Dean Reber, 60, and Jonathon Muzychka, 43, may be together

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens during a postelection news conference in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
30% of B.C. recovery benefit applications held up in manual review

The province says 150 staff have been reassigned to help with manually reviewing applications

Adam Dergazarian, bottom center, pays his respect for Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, in front of a mural painted by artist Louie Sloe Palsino, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Kobe Bryant’s presence remains strong a year after his death

Tuesday marks the grim anniversary of the crash that took their lives

Surrey RCMP are investigating after a pedestrian was struck and killed at 183 Street and Highway 10 Friday night. (File photo)
Modelling of predicted transmission growth from the B117 COVID-19 variant in British Columbia. (Simon Fraser University)
COVID-19 variant predicted to cause ‘unmanageable’ case spike in B.C: report

SFU researchers predict a doubling of COVID-19 cases every two weeks if the variant spreads

The Brucejack mine is 65 km north of Stewart in northwestern B.C. (Pretivm Photo)
B.C. mine executives see bright gleam in post-COVID future

Low carbon drives demand for copper, steelmaking coal

Most Read