Willow Cree inmate dies from apparent COVID-19 complications

(Saskatchewan Health Authority/Submitted)

An inmate serving time at the Willow Cree Healing Lodge has died from complications related to COVID-19.

The inmate’s next of kin have been notified. The coroner will review the circumstances of the death, as is the case in any in-custody death.

Saturday’s COVID-19 death was the fifth among federally-sentenced inmates since the beginning of the global pandemic. Two of them have occurred in Saskatchewan. In addition to the Willow Cree Healing Lodge death, a federally-sentenced inmate service time at Sask. Pen died from complications of COVID-19.

As of Sunday, there were zero active cases of COVID-19 listed in federal institutions in Saskatchewan. Only Sask. Pen and Willow Cree have seen cases amongst the four federal institutions in the province.

Inmate advocates linked the spread of COVIVD-19 to prisoner transfers between facilities.

In a press release, Correctional Service Canada said it has “dedicated health services and medical professionals in all of its institutions. We also work closely and collaboratively with local public health partners and hospitals to provide complete and quality medical care to those who need it and to prevent further spread of COVID-19.”

It also said its protocol involves isolating inmates who are symptomatic or who test positive for COVID-19 in order to prevent the spread of infection.

Medically-vulnerable federal inmates have also been vaccinated as the first part of the vaccine rollout.

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