COVID-19 Cases Remain At Zero For Fifth Straight Week At Middlesex Jail & House Of Correction

Below is a press release from Middlesex Sheriff Peter Koutoujian’s Office:

BILLERICA, MA — For a fifth straight week, the number of incarcerated individuals testing positive for COVID-19 at the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction stands at zero, Middlesex Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian announced this week.

“Over the past four months, our staff has done an incredible job confronting this unprecedented public health challenge,” said Sheriff Koutoujian.  “While we have reached an important milestone in our efforts to address COVID-19, we remain vigilant.  The health and safety of our incarcerated population, our staff, and our wider community remain our chief priority.”

During the last five weeks 14 total COVID tests were administered, all of which came back negative.  Of those 14 tests, ten were conducted as precautionary measures including seven of which were for individuals either re-entering the community or being transferred to other jurisdictions.  Four individuals entering the facility from the community were immediately isolated and tested based on medical protocols.

MSO Employees Donate Plasma

Sheriff Koutoujian also announced today that 11 MSO staff members who previously tested positive for COVID-19 – and have recovered – have donated plasma in the hopes of helping individuals who are still battling the virus.

“The men and women of the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office are dedicated professionals, committed to serving their communities and helping their fellow citizens,” said Sheriff Koutoujian.  “These 11 employees decided to create something positive out of their diagnosis, and it is a real testament to their selflessness.  I am incredibly proud of them for their thoughtfulness and desire to help others.”

The plasma of recovered COVID-19 individuals – also known as convalescent plasma – contains numerous proteins developed by that individual’s immune system to overcome the virus.  These antibodies have become the basis of medical interventions for patients with life-threatening diagnoses of COVID-19, as well as research into potential vaccines for the novel coronavirus.

“I’m lucky enough to have fully recovered from COVID-19 on my own,” said Crystal Miske, Program Coordinator for the Medication Assisted Treatment And Directed Opioid Recovery (MATADOR) program.  “With that, and just two hours of my time I could potentially save the lives of three people.  If I have the ability to give back by donating plasma to those who may not be as lucky to recover on their own, it’s a no brainer for me.  If it could save only one person, or buy a family a few more moments or days with their loved one, I’d still do it.  If you can help, you should.”

“Seeing the selflessness of all my colleagues when I was out of work, I felt bad I wasn’t able to be there to help,” said Officer Shawn Ankenbauer.  “I was inspired when I saw the doctors, nurses and others working weekends, nights and holidays to do their parts.  It was great to see everyone coming together and working together.  That’s what made me want to donate – to do my part to help.”

To learn more about plasma donations please visit https://www.fda.gov/emergency-preparedness-and-response/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19/donate-covid-19-plasma.

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