REGINA -- The transfer of prisoners from Saskatoon has added to the number of COVID-19 cases at the Regina Correction Centre, after three prisoners tested positive for the virus upon arrival.

Several vans with prisoners from Saskatoon arrived at the Regina Correctional Centre on the weekend.

A representative from SGEU said the inmates were transferred from a Saskatoon Police station, not from the correctional centre.

Corrections said the prisoners were not tested for the virus until they arrived in Regina. Some have since been released into the community but must self isolate in hotels.

The John Howard Society is calling for voluntary testing for guards and prisoners at all corrections facilities.

“Outbreaks are not inevitable but I think if we carry on the way we have been they will be. If we haven’t had it in all the institutions already, we’re on a course for that to happen,” Shawn Fraser, the CEO of the John Howard Society said.

67 inmates and 17 staff have tested positive for COVID-19 at the Saskatoon Correctional Centre.

The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) said employees wanting to be tested voluntarily can go to a community testing centre like everyone else.

“It’s there and although prisoners can’t walk out of a Correctional Centre and get tested, the staff can,” Scott Livingstone, the CEO of the SHA, said.

The government is looking into testing within correctional centres but said it could take a while to put everything together.