Below is a press release from the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office:
BILLERICA, MA — Despite marking 11 consecutive weeks without a positive test amongst its incarcerated population, the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office (MSO) has proactively increased efforts to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 at the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction.
Since the last positive result in the incarcerated population, 107 tests have been conducted with all returning negative.
“With COVID cases rising across the Commonwealth, the health and safety of all our employees and those in our custody remains our top priority,” said Middlesex Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian. “That is why we launched a new, voluntary testing program for staff at the beginning of December. This previously announced testing program was initiated by our office and implemented in consultation with infectious disease physician Dr. Alysse Wurcel. It has already allowed us to more quickly and proactively identify cases among staff, conduct immediate contact tracing and mitigate the spread.”
As of today, there are currently 23 staff members out as a result of a positive test. There is no indication that any of the positives have come from the incarcerated population, but rather through community exposures.
In addition to the voluntary staff testing, the MSO has also enhanced testing for incarcerated individuals. While all new individuals are screened for symptoms upon admittance, all asymptomatic individuals are now also being tested for COVID on the seventh day or their quarantine, prior to placement in the general population.
“As we have from the outset of this pandemic, we will continue to work in close collaboration with Dr. Wurcel and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health in the days and weeks ahead on mitigation efforts and response,” added Koutoujian.
Among the mitigation efforts undertaken to date are:
- Medical screenings for all newly incarcerated individuals entering the facility.
- Requiring staff working inside the facility to wear masks for the duration of their shifts.
- Requiring incarcerated individuals residing in cells to wear masks them when outside their cells. Those individuals residing in dorm settings must wear a mask at all times.
- Issuing incarcerated individuals a new mask each week.
- Encouraging individuals inside the facility to continue to follow CDC recommended steps for preventing the spread of the virus. This includes frequently washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and maintaining social distance.
To learn more about the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office COVID-19 response, please visit middlesexsheriff.org/covid19.
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