LONDON, ONT. -- A COVID-19 outbreak at the Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre has now grown to 30 people.

CTV News first reported the outbreak on Jan. 18. At that time, four staff members had tested positive for the virus with the first case reported on Jan. 14.

The Middlesex London Health Unit (MLHU) now confirms the outbreak has spread to 11 staff members and 19 inmates.

"The upside to the EMDC outbreak is that both the staff and the inmates tend to be very young so they tend to be relatively low risk," says Dr. Chris Mackie of the MLHU.

"That said among the inmates there there is a relatively high of unrelated diseases that could put inmates at risk. So fortunately we haven't seen fatalities there."

Any inmate that tests positive for COVID-19 is placed under droplet precautions and isolated from the rest of the inmate population while they receive appropriate medical care.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of the Solicitor General says inmates that test positive are isolated from the rest of the population.

A number of operational changes have also taken place at all provincial correctional facilities to combat the virus, including:

  •  Testing all newly admitted inmates, with their consent
  •  Housing all newly admitted inmates in a separate area from the general population for 14 days
  •  Masks provided to inmates, if required
  •  Providing personal protective equipment for all staff
  •  Requiring all staff and visitors to always wear masks
  •  Requiring temperature checks for staff and visitors

o Working with local public health units to test inmates and staff as appropriate.

o Increased cleaning measures


The health unit say the virus was transmitted within the jail and the situation is being closely monitored.