Jail Covid-free 10 weeks, sheriff outlines safety steps

Peter J. Koutoujian, sheriff Koutoujian

The Middlesex Sheriff’s Office says it has has not had a positive Covid-19 case among its incarcerated population in nearly 10 weeks, though cases continue to rise in communities across the county and the Commonwealth.

In response, the office is outlining a series of new and existing steps designed to mitigate the risk of spread at the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction. These measures will help ensure incarcerated individuals are able to continue programming while remaining connected to loved ones.

“Thanks to the diligent efforts of staff, incarcerated individuals and our medical advisors, we have not reported a positive case amongst our incarcerated population in nearly 10 weeks,” Middlesex Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian said in a Dec. 4 news release.  “Despite these efforts, we are going further.  We know that continued vigilance is our best protection from this virus.”

Since the last positive test, on Sept. 29, 60 tests for incarcerated individuals have been completed with all having returned negative.  Before this single positive result, a positive test was not received at the office since Aug. 13.  Nearly 100 tests have come back negative during that period.

The new measures being implemented include:

  • Shifting some in-person programming currently facilitated by volunteers and outside contractors to virtual.  This will be in addition to other programs already being offered virtually.
  • Offering free, voluntary testing for office staff members two days per week at the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction.
  • Limiting outside vendor activities to emergency services only.

The steps outlined above are in addition to previously implemented measures that remain in place including:

  • All staff working inside the facility are required to wear masks for the duration of their shifts.  Incarcerated individuals residing in cells must wear them when outside their cells.  Those individuals residing in dorm settings must wear a mask at all times.
  • All incarcerated individuals are issued a new mask weekly.
  • Medical screenings for all new incarcerated individuals entering the facility.
  • 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.
  • All incarcerated individuals are currently being offered one free, five-minute call per week.
  • In-person visitation is ongoing, however will be reviewed on a daily basis.

In addition, our family resource and outreach coordinator (978-932-3517) contivnues to serve as a central point of contact for families with specific questions or concerns about their loved ones.  Individuals or families with urgent concerns outside of normal business hours should contact 978-667-1711 ext. 0.  

To learn more about the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office Covid-19 response, isit middlesexsheriff.org/covid19.

This news announcement was published Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020.

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