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Coronavirus Cases Spike At Another Massachusetts Prison

The number of prisoners testing positive for the coronavirus has almost doubled at MCI-Shirley Medium since Monday, according to the Massachusetts Department of Correction.

The DOC says 142 prisoners are now positive at Shirley Medium, compared with 74 positives on Monday. Shirley Medium now has the highest number of positive prisoners of all 16 DOC facilities. The latest DOC data on staff testing indicates that 21 correction officers there have tested positive. There are also cases among support and medical staff, but the exact number is not reported if it is less than five.

MCI-Concord has 96 prisoners who have tested positive — up from 86 prisoners Monday. The DOC says 42 correction officers at MCI-Concord are positive. The DOC also says there are 26 positive cases at MCI-Norfolk and 10 positive correction officers. Norfolk had an outbreak earlier this month, with almost 200 positive cases.

There are also three positive prisoner cases reported at MCI-Shirley Minimum. There is a single positive case reported in three DOC facilities: NCCI Gardner, the Pondville Correctional Center and the Lemuel Shattuck Hospital Correctional Unit.

As for county jails, an outbreak was reported at the Suffolk County House of Correction last week. A spokesman for the Suffolk County Sheriff has not responded to questions about the current testing numbers there.

The DOC said it is continuing to test prisoners and staff and has conducted almost 16,000 COVID tests in all state prisons since the pandemic began.

Eight DOC prisoners and two men held in county jails have died from COVID-19.

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Deborah Becker Twitter Host/Reporter
Deborah Becker is a senior correspondent and host at WBUR. Her reporting focuses on mental health, criminal justice and education.

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