Virus coursing through district jail

The COVID-19 outbreak at the Thunder Bay District Jail started a week


A growing COVID-19 outbreak at the Thunder Bay District Jail was

inevitable, says the union president representing correctional officers

at the facility.

On Wednesday, the Thunder Bay District Health Unit reported 14 cases of

COVID-19 at the jail, one week after declaring an outbreak at the

institution as well as at the Thunder Bay Correctional Centre.

“This basically stems from the same overcrowding situation we’ve had

forever,” said Bill Hayes, president of Ontario Public Service

Employees Union Local 737, which represents correctional officers at

the Thunder Bay District Jail.

On Wednesday afternoon, the jail had 136 inmates. It can normally hold

146 inmates, but with the intake units created to contain the virus,

Hayes said they can comfortably house 100 inmates.

“Anything above that becomes unmanageable,” he said. “As soon as our

count started climbing and the COVID numbers in the community started

rising, we knew it was just a matter of time before it would get in


Despite the outbreak, Hayes said staff are maintaining a positive

attitude and still reporting to work.

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