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The medium security wing at the Mission Institution correctional facility in Mission, B.C., April 18, 2020.JESSE WINTER/Reuters

Authorities at a federal institution in British Columbia say they have stepped up precautionary measures after more than 100 inmates tested positive for the new coronavirus.

A news release from the Correctional Service of Canada says Mission Institution federal prison has added handwashing stations, increased hygiene supplies throughout the institution, given masks to all inmates and staff and continues to disinfect high-contact surfaces multiple times a day.

On Saturday, provincial health officer Bonnie Henry said a total of 106 inmates – including two in hospital – and 12 staff members tested positive for COVID-19.

She said health authorities knew it will be a challenge to effectively isolate people at the medium-security institution.

The facility says it has modified routines in the institution to respect physical-distancing measures by “making every effort” to give inmates time outside of their cells.

It says it isolates inmates who are symptomatic or have tested positive to prevent spread to others, especially those who are older or have an underlying health condition.

The facility says it is working with an epidemiologist and public-health authorities to implement advice on how best to cohort inmates.

“We now have a 24/7 nursing roster at Mission and a 7 day a week physician coverage, to provide ongoing care to inmates,” it says.

It has also put a call out to other staff who may want to work at the site to address staffing levels.

Dr. Henry said the province has conducted extensive testing within the correctional facility over the past few days and recorded 40 new cases.

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