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4 Massachusetts Prisoners Die Of Covid In The Past Week

Four Massachusetts prisoners have died from COVID-19 in the past week, with 15 DOC detainees now dead from the disease as the coronavirus continues to sweep through the state's correctional facilities.

The 15th Massachusetts prisoner to die of COVID-19 passed away Monday at a local hospital. He was in his 70s and was held at the North Central Correctional Institution in Gardner. The other three prisoners were held at Gardner, the Massachusetts Correctional Institute (MCI) Concord and MCI Norfolk.

Thirteen prisoners are hospitalized.

Recent outbreaks also are reported in county jails. In Worcester County, which had reported no active cases for several weeks, 26 men in custody and four staff members tested positive for the virus on Monday. A total of 48 prisoners are listed as active Covid cases. The Worcester jail implemented a modified lock down last week, limiting visits and outside programming, according to David Tuttle, superintendent of the Worcester County Jail and House of Correction.

"It seems shocking that we have this number," Tuttle said, " but we're no different from the community right now. The good news is no one has had to go to the hospital and we have a handle on this."

Prisoners are listed in the first phase of the state's vaccine rollout plan, but there are few details on how the injections will be carried out. Tuttle says the Worcester jail administered 90 of the 100 doses of the vaccine that it received to front line workers.

As of Monday, there was no information about when prisoners there might be vaccinated.

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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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