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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