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Massachusetts state prisons suspend family visits amid virus outbreak

Family and friend visits will not be allowed at any of the state's 16 correctional facilities.

Corrections officers move an inmate at Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley. Jessey Dearing/The Boston Globe, File

BOSTON (AP) — Family and friend visits have been suspended at all Massachusetts state prisons amid the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, officials said Friday.

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The Massachusetts Department of Correction said family and friend visits will not be allowed at any of the state’s 16 correctional facilities. Attorneys will still be able to visit their clients behind bars, officials said.

Prisons officials said the they will evaluate the reinstatement of family and friend visits on an “ongoing basis.”

The number of people in Massachusetts who have tested positive for COVID-19 rose to 102 on Thursday. More than 80 cases were associated with a meeting of executives of the firm Biogen at a Boston hotel last month.

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For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. The vast majority of people recover from the new virus.

Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins said the county’s House of Correction is also suspending visits. Her office said it will “work with the community to make sure that families are able to remain in contact with their loved ones who are in custody.”

The Associated Press receives support for health and science coverage from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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