Province says situation under control as man dies of COVID-19 at Bordeaux prison

The Bordeaux provincial prison in Ahuntsic has seen its first death from the coronavirus—a 72-year-old man who was awaiting sentencing.

There hasn’t been much information coming out of the prison, where inmates don’t have easy access to communication. But Quebec’s Deputy Premier Genevieve Guilbault says there are 60 positive cases among the inmates, and 28 among staff members.

At the beginning of the month, the numbers were 20 inmates and 15 staff. Some reports had the current rate at closer to 100 inmates.

The government believes its containment measures have been effective, said Guilbault.

“So far those measures have worked pretty well,” she said. “We cannot avoid all cases because of the [close living quarters]…it was obvious that sooner or later we would have to face some cases.”

At the beginning of Montreal’s outbreak, the prison guards’ union was vocal about problems in the prison, saying there was a lack of physical distancing and not enough equipment like masks.

Prisoners who have spoken to CTV have reported they were not allowed to take showers for two weeks and that other services were shut down, which led to a hunger strike.

Guilbault claims that two per cent of Quebec’s jail population is currently infected with the coronavirus. 

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