Two inmates at the Middlesex Jail and House of Corrections have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past two days, authorities announced.
The first was tested by medical staff on Thursday and received a positive test Friday. After getting that result, that inmate's roommate was also tested on Friday and a positive test returned Saturday.
The second inmate had not been showing any symptoms of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, and was tested out of precaution, the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office said. Both men have been placed in medical isolation in the Health Services Unit.
In response to these results, the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office (MSO) announced new steps to combat the virus, including limiting movement in and out of the infected inmates' units, asking officers assigned to the unit to self-quarantine and providing unit residents and working officers with masks.
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Middlesex Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian said his office has been working with Dr. Alysse Wurcel, an infectious diseases specialist at Tufts Medical Center, to prepare for the potential arrival of COVID-19.
“I have been thoroughly impressed by their commitment to provide the highest quality of healthcare to people who are incarcerated, and provide education and tools to their staff to keep everyone healthy,” Wurcel said.
The MSO said it has been taking other steps for weeks, including medical screening for new individuals entering the facility, suspending in-person visits for family and friends and more vigorous cleaning of the facilities.
“We can handle this,” Koutoujian told NBC10 Boston’s Ally Donnelly in mid-March. “We can manage this. We are prepared for this.”