On Wednesday March 18 BC Corrections said the Okanagan Correctional Centre (OCC) is closed to visitors and volunteers until further notice due to COVID-19. (Phil Mclachlan - Western News - File)

COVID-19: Okanagan prison closed to visitors, no confirmed cases of virus

Individuals in custody still have access to legal council, encouraged to contact clients via phone

The Okanagan Correctional Centre (OCC) is closed to visitors and volunteers until further notice due to COVID-19.

BC Corrections said March 18 there are currently no confirmed cases of the virus at the OCC, or at any provincial correctional centre.

In the past few days staff at the facility have been engaging in daily pandemic planning meetings with the Provincial Health Services Authority to address a range of topics related to the operation of a correctional centre during this time.

Cleaning schedules, intake and release procedures and educational progamming for people in custody are all topics they are working to address.

Individuals in custody still have access to legal council, who are being encouraged to contact their clients via phone.

BC Corrections said in an email if an individual in custody exhibits cold or flu symptoms of any kind, they will be immediately isolated, be under medical observation and tested as required.

OCC said in light of COVID-19, it is updating other practices and procedures, however it is building on the baseline of procedures already developed in response to the previous H1N1 influenza virus.

According to BC Corrections, it will continue to monitor the global response to COVID-19 and follow the guidance of provincial heath officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, who in turn is working closely with the BC Centre for Disease Control, the Public Health Agency of Canada and the World Health Organization to provide the latest information and instruction on precautionary measures.

“This is a dynamic situation and, as always, the safety and security of everyone in B.C.’s correctional centres and community corrections offices, and the broader community, is our paramount concern,” said a spokesperson for BC Corrections in a news release.

@PentictonNews
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