Coronavirus

COVID-19 cases rise at Mass. jails, prisons

Outbreaks have been reported across the state.

The state’s jails and prisons have seen a recent uptick in coronavirus cases, according to WBUR.

Outbreaks have been reported at the Middleton House of Corrections, the Worcester County Jail and House of Correction, the Middlesex County House of Correction, and others.

There are 100 cases among those incarcerated at the Middleton House of Correction as of Monday, according to the Essex County Sheriff’s Department via WBUR. Five days ago, there were 57 active cases in the jail, according to The Salem News.

Most cases involve mild symptoms and are among people who have been vaccinated, according to the Sheriff’s Department. An additional 28 employees, vendors, and volunteers have tested positive, according to WBUR.

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The Essex County Sherriff’s Department suspended visitation at the jail in August due to a rise in COVID-19 cases in the community. Recently, video visitation was also suspended to “mitigate movement” within the facility, according to a statement on the department’s website.

The jail’s spokeswoman, Gretchen Grosky, told The Salem News that the jail has made efforts to vaccinate as many prisoners as possible and sanitize the facility.

While 75% of Essex County residents have received at least one dose of a vaccine, 68% of prisoners are vaccinated, Grosky told The Salem News.

In Worcester, the sheriff imposed a 10-day medical lockdown after 68 of the 654 men incarcerated there tested positive, according to WBUR. Several staff members also have active cases of the virus.

Worcester County Jail Superintendent David Tuttle told WBUR that most of those who have tested positive don’t have symptoms.

Tuttle told WBUR that it’s not clear how many of those in custody are vaccinated, but he said many detainees have refused to get the vaccine, although it is being offered at the jail.

In Bristol County, there are 47 active cases among those in custody, while in Middlesex there are seven, according to WBUR.

The Department of Correction reports 12 active cases in state facilities, including 10 cases at the Massachusetts Alcohol and Substance Abuse Center in Plymouth, according to WBUR.

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