VANCOUVER -- Alison Sherwin hasn’t heard from her older brother Tyler in weeks, and she’s worried. Speaking from Red Deer, Alta., to CTV News Vancouver, Sherwin said her 30-year-old brother has been an inmate at Mission Institution in the Fraser Valley since November of last year. Earlier this week, the medium security facility recorded the highest number of COVID-19 cases out of all federal prisons in Canada.

“He’s my family, you know, I want to know that he’s ok, and it just hasn’t been possible,” Sherwin said. “It’s been all-consuming. We wake up thinking about it. We go to bed thinking about it.”

As of Wednesday, B.C.’s provincial health officer said there were 48 cases at the institution, with seven people in hospital.

Sherwin said her family hasn’t been able to talk to Tyler now that the prison is in lockdown, or even get a message through to request a call. She said a lawyer who managed to reach him last week said he was OK, but scared.

“They are all locked in their cells for 24 hours a day right now. What we’ve heard is they’re allowed out once a week for a shower, but even for meals, they’re all delivered to their cells,” Sherwin said. “His mental health is what’s really worrying me right now. Tyler has always struggled with mental health.”

Sherwin said her mother has even called Abbotsford Regional Hospital, where a mobile medical unit has been set up to help with the outbreak, to see if her brother is there. As of Wednesday morning, he wasn’t.

"It’s been extremely frustrating. There’s absolutely no communication," Sherwin said.

CTV has also heard from a man who said his brother, Donald Boutilier, is an inmate at Mission Institution and tested positive for the virus. He told CTV News Vancouver Boutilier has a compromised immune system due to hepatitis. With Boutilier’s consent, he recorded one of their recent phone conversations.

"We were in our cells for two weeks before we got a shower," Boutilier is heard saying. "We haven’t had cleaning supplies in our cell." He added the institution has a "shared air system," so "if one inmate gets sick, the rest of us are going to get sick, too."

Corrections Canada has said they are trying to secure early release for some inmates, something advocates have been pushing for - especially for those considered low-risk, or who have chronic health conditions.

Sherwin said her brother, who is serving time for drug possession, could be a candidate, as his offences are non-violent.

"My parents and my brother and I, we’re all very, very close, and regardless of Tyler’s struggles the last few years, he’s still a really wonderful person," Sherwin said, and added he has mental health issues which eventually led to drug use. "He’s always kept in touch, and we’ve always loved and supported him, and this is no different."

Sherwin’s voice filled with emotion as she described her brother’s "big heart," sense of humour, and compassion for others.

"He’s funny, and he’s caring, and he’s kind, and he’s always looking out for everybody around him," Sherwin said. "We’re all worried about the people we love and care about, and my person is in the Mission Institution and it’s not a good situation there. We just need some communication right now."