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

(Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Murder charge laid in February 2020 stabbing death of Smithers man

Michael Egenolf is charged with the second-degree murder of Brodie Cumiskey

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: B.C. seniors aged 90+ can start to sign up for vaccination on March 8

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

A health care worker prepares to test a Coastal GasLink field worker for COVID-19. (Coastal GasLink photo)
Coastal GasLink begins COVID screening of pipeline workers

Construction is once again ramping up following Northern Health approval of COVID management plan

Deane Gorsline, is a former Burns Lake resident who has been diagnosed with ALS. (Submitted/Lakes District News)
ALS Action Canada group ropes in political leaders

Hopes to get more support and ultimately better treatment options for Canadians

Older rental apartments are prime candidates for renovations, and could result in lost affordable housing stock. (Zoë Ducklow photo)
B.C.’s renoviction overhaul a good start, but won’t preserve affordable stock, lawyer says

And still no protection for people who can’t pay rent due to COVID-19

(Photo by Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze)
B.C. WHL teams to hit the ice with Kelowna, Kamloops hub cities

Kelowna, Kamloops centres chosen to host B.C. WHL teams for 24-game regular season

The machines are akin to ATMs and allow drug users at risk of overdose to get hydromorphone pills dispensed to them after their palm has been scanned to identify its unique vein pattern. (CANADIAN PRESS)
Feds dole out $3.5M for ‘vending machines’ to dispense safer opioids in B.C.

The machines are located in four cities across Canada, including Vancouver and Victoria

Grandma Ellen Gerow’s cabin used to be situated on Gerow Island at the beginning of the driveway to what is now my brother Marvin Gerow’s property. (Albert Gerow/LDAC/Lakes District News)
LDAC presents paintings from Albert Gerow and more

LDAC’s second virtual concert and art show released

Kelowna’s lakefront visitor centre is one of 130 around the province. Tourism businesses have been hardest hit by COVID-19 restrictions on travel. (Destination B.C.)
Tourism, small business getting COVID-19 help, B.C. minister says

$300M grant program has delivered $50 million so far

The incident happened in downtown Castlegar. Photo: Betsy Kline
Castlegar teen recounts stabbing after stranger breaks into grandmother’s house

The unnamed teen survived a terrifying attack Feb. 21

(Black Press file photo)
Agassiz boy, 11, dies from ‘extensive injuries’: Homicide team

Agassiz RCMP were called out Friday to assist with a child in medical distress

Most Read