Two inmates, corrections officer at Bristol Co. Jail test positive for COVID-19

DARTMOUTH, Mass. (WLNE)- Two inmates at the Bristol County Jail have now tested positive for the coronavirus, according to the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office.

These are the first cases of the virus reported by the Sheriff’s Office.

A corrections officer has also tested positive, bringing the total number of staff at the jail to test positive to seven.

One inmate was given a test for the virus at St. Luke’s Hospital in New Bedford on Thursday, after being transported to the hospital for a preexisting condition the night prior.

The inmate received the positive test on Friday and is now being held in isolation in the medical ward, according to sheriff’s office spokesman Jonathon Darling.

The second inmate appears to be one of the ICE detainees involved in a confrontation with jail staffers after refusing to be tested for the virus, according to the sheriff.

The corrections officer had been on assignment with the prisoner at St. Luke’s on Thursday when he began to feel ill. According to the statement, he left work early to get tested and was given a positive result on Sunday.

According to Sheriff Thomas Hodgson, it’s all about containment now at the jail.

“The first one was an older gentleman who had been back and forth from St. Luke’s Hospital,” he said. “We’re a little puzzled by it. One of the guys has been here since November. Actually, he was in the ICE unit where the ten refused to get tested.”

The jail is now doing it’s best to contact-trace any other inmates or jail staffers who may have been in contact with the two people who tested positive.

“We want to make sure that we look at all the tapes. We try to track where that person was, who they were in contact with,” he said.

The plan now, according to Hodgson, is to isolate the two inmates from the general population at the Bristol County House of Corrections with no known plans of releasing them.

“We have an entire unit that we use for quarantine with individual cells,” Hodgson said. “We’re at 56 percent of our capacity right now so we have a lot of room to quarantine, isolate, and so forth.”

As for where the two inmates got the virus from, Hodgson said it’s hard to say, but one of the inmates was going back and forth to St. Luke’s Hospital even before the positive test result came back.

“Is there some outside place they were? If they were how did it happen?” Hodgson said. “Try to trace these things to see where they possibly could have picked it up.”

None of the cases with the inmates or the corrections officers appear to be life-threatening.

©WLNE-TV/ABC 6 2020



Categories: Coronavirus, Massachusetts