Close to 100 people at the Hampden County Jail have tested positive for the coronavirus, making it the latest Massachusetts correctional facility to experience a spike in cases.
Sheriff Nick Cocchi, who said he ordered testing at the facility because of the increasing number of cases across the state, confirmed that 79 prisoners and 20 members of the jail's staff returned positive results.
The prisoners who tested positive are in medical quarantine and receiving care, according to Cocchi. The affected staff members are isolating at home.
“As correctional institutions are a reflection of the communities they serve, we expected to find positive cases and we did," he said in a statement. "We have staff members and inmates without symptoms who are positive. We now work to bring our positive count back to zero as we did with the previous department-wide testing, and we will continue to follow the strict medical protocols that have kept our institutions as safe as possible throughout the pandemic.”
Cocchi said all new prisoners admitted to the jail are placed in a medical quarantine unit for 14 days and monitored for symptoms of the virus. He also said all staff at the jail are screened upon entering the jail.