Just as area communities have seen a spike in COVID-19 cases, Essex County Sheriff Kevin F. Coppinger’s office this weekend reported 25 positive test results among Middleton inmates, 21 among employees and two outside contractors.
A statement released Saturday night said each case shows “mild symptoms,” but no required hospitalizations. There have been no positive cases at the department’s Essex Pre-Release Center in Lawrence or the Women in Transition Program in Salisbury.
“Like with so many other areas across the state, we are seeing a surge in this highly-contagious illness and this is despite having the most rigorous of health and safety protocols in place,” Coppinger said. “We continue to work around the clock to fight back against this virus and to ensure the health and safety of all who live and work at our Middleton facility.”
The department, with the assistance of the state Department of Public Health, is testing all inmates and staff in efforts to control the outbreak. The Middleton jail is closed to the general public and movement inside has been reduced to curb the risk of further transmission.
Gov. Charlie Baker is lifting certain pandemic-related restrictions today, but not for 29 communities that have entered the state’s high-risk red zone including Haverhill, Lawrence, Lowell, Methuen, Middleton and North Andover.
Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini reported over the weekend that a hospitalized Lakeview House nursing home resident died from the disease, bringing the city’s total death toll to 68. There were also 13 new cases—nine of them reported as a result of the city’s testing program.