Middlesex Sheriff’s Office Continues COVID-19 Mitigation Efforts

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

BILLERICA, MA — As cases across the country begin to increase once again, the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office (MSO) is continuing to take proactive steps designed to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 at the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction, including the use of masks.

These efforts have proven successful. Of 364 tests administered to incarcerated individuals since June 1, 361 have been negative. The 3 positive tests came from individuals who had just entered custody from their community and were caught by the MSO’s seven day testing protocol for new arrivals.  All three individuals cleared COVID protocols fully recovered prior to entering general population.

“Since February of 2020, we have worked aggressively and around the clock to confront COVID-19 utilizing a medically-driven model,” said Middlesex Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian.  “Even while cases declined locally and nationally as we headed into the summer, we never wavered in our commitment to keep our staff, incarcerated population and visitors safe.  We continued to offer vaccinations and educational information regarding vaccines, conduct strategic testing, and encourage people to follow the CDC recommended steps for preventing the spread of the virus. We know we must remain vigilant against this virus.”

During that same timeframe, two MSO staff members tested positive for COVID-19.

In addition to the extensive testing protocols employed by the MSO:

  • The MSO has administered four first shots and 14 second shots of the Moderna vaccine, as well as 52 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to incarcerated individuals, since June 1.
  • A total of 313 incarcerated individuals have received the first dose and 233 the second dose of the Moderna vaccine, while 92 received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine since the MSO began administering the vaccine in January,.  Over that timeframe, 404 individuals indicated they were vaccinated prior to booking.
  • Administered 441 first shots and 429 second shots of the Moderna vaccine to staff since January, as well as eight doses of Johnson & Johnson.
  • In May, the MSO became the first county correctional facility in the nation to partner with Cambridge-based Biobot Analytics to monitor and identify the presence of COVID-19 in the wastewater.

These measures are in addition to steps previously implemented at the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction including:

  • Working with an outside infectious diseases physician.
  • Quarantining all new admittances to the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction and testing them on their seventh day in custody.
  • Offering free, voluntary testing for MSO staff members.
  • Enhanced cleaning in the facility.

“Our thoughtful, medically-driven model, combined with the outstanding work of our staff has put us in a strong position as we enter this new phase of the pandemic,” said Sheriff Koutoujian.  “But we know we are not a city on a hill and as cases tick up in the community, it’s critical we all maintain our high level of readiness.”

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