SASKATOON -- Correctional Service Canada (CSC) says 63 inmates and one staff member at Saskatchewan Penitentiary have tested positive for COVID-19 as of Friday.

So far, the cases are confined to the medium security unit, which has a 457 offender capacity.

The growing outbreak is causing worry for Shauna Gordon, whose brother, Bronson, is an inmate at the penitentiary. Because of limited access to the phone, she hasn’t heard from him since the outbreak was declared on Dec. 12.

"A lot of the family, they reach out to me and they ask 'How is Bronson doing?' and 'How is he hanging in there?' and I honestly can't even give them a genuine answer anymore because it's getting to the point where I don't even know,” she said.

Gordon said it’s especially difficult during the holiday season — a normally “uplifting” time for her family to be able to connect with Bronson on Christmas morning.

“Now, just knowing that call is not going to be there, it’s just really sad,” she said.

“Sometimes, that’s all people have.”

Prior to the outbreak, Gordon said she spoke with her brother over the phone about every other day. Before the pandemic, she and her kids would travel from their Alberta home to visit him in-person.

Visitation to the penitentiary is suspended.

In a Monday news release, the CSC said it’s offering testing to all staff and inmates and the correctional facility. Inmates who have tested positive are isolated to a separate area.