Mass. CO, 2 inmates test positive for COVID-19

The DOC's update was given less than 36 hours after the first confirmed COVID-19 case inside a state correctional facility


The Patriot Ledger

BRIDGEWATER, Mass. — Two additional inmates and a correction officer at a Bridgewater prison have tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, according to the state's Department of Correction.

The Department of Correction provided the update Sunday afternoon, less than 36 hours after announcing the first confirmed case of COVID-19 inside a state correctional facility.

The Massachusetts Department of Correction said the latest positive cases involved inmates at the Massachusetts Treatment Center, a medium security facility separately housing criminally sentenced male inmates identified as sex offenders and those who have been civilly committed as sexually dangerous.

As of Sunday, three inmates at the facility have tested positive for the coronavirus and have been quarantined from the general population. One officer who tested positive has been instructed to stay home and follow their physician's instructions, the department said.

"The Department and our contracted medical provider have been actively preparing for this virus and we continue to closely monitor developments associated with its spread," the statement said. "Health and safety precautions to minimize the risk of introduction and transmission have been and remain in place to protect inmates and staff. The entire Department is focused on utilizing CDC and DPH guidance to reduce, to the greatest degree possible, the potential impact of this virus on our correctional system while maintaining core services."

The Department of Correction said it was following DPH recommendations and staff members were utilizing personal protective equipment in high risk areas and while interacting with quarantined inmates.

It says the National Guard has erected screening tents that will be used to take body temperatures and survey individuals attempting to enter a facility.

Correction officers who work at the MTC do not report to work at any other facility, according to the DOC.

All DOC facilities, including the Bridgewater prison, have been following the DPH's guidance to minimize the risk of introduction or transmission of the virus.

On March 12, the DOC temporarily suspended visits from family and friends at each of its 16 correctional facilities in Massachusetts.

The DOC said it closely monitor developments associated with the spread of this virus, along with its contracted inmate medical provider, Wellpath, and that staff are working with the DPH to prevent further introduction into state facilities, and to quickly engage, contain, and treat any outbreak.

The MTC is a separate facility from the Bridgewater State Hospital.

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©2020 The Patriot Ledger, Quincy, Mass.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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