MSO COVID-19 Information

August 19, 2021 - 6:22 p.m. (Update #66)
As a result of established testing protocols, the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office (MSO) today announced it had conducted 51 COVID-19 tests over the past two days, with 46 results returning negative and five results returning positive.  Individuals who tested positive all resided in one housing unit.

In accordance with MSO safety protocols, all those who tested positive have been moved to the facility’s Health Services Unit (HSU) and will remain under close observation.  The unit in which the individuals resided has been placed on a modified movement schedule, with additional testing planned.

Prior to these results, just three of more than 360 incarcerated individuals tested had tested positive since June 1, the MSO announced last week.  All three of those were individuals who just entered custody and were identified as a result of the MSO’s seven day testing protocol for new arrivals.

In addition to comprehensive testing protocols:

These measures are in addition to steps previously implemented at the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction including:

  • Working with an outside infectious diseases physician.
  • Quarantining all new admittances to the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction and testing them on their seventh day in custody.
  • Offering free, voluntary testing for MSO staff members.
  • Enhanced cleaning in the facility.
  • Mask requirement for staff and incarcerated individuals.

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August 13, 2021 – 4:00 p.m. (Update #65)
As cases across the country begin to increase once again, the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office (MSO) is continuing to take proactive steps designed to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 at the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction, including the use of masks.

These efforts have proven successful. Of 364 tests administered to incarcerated individuals since June 1, 361 have been negative. The 3 positive tests came from individuals who had just entered custody from their community and were caught by the MSO’s seven day testing protocol for new arrivals.  All three individuals cleared COVID protocols fully recovered prior to entering general population.

“Since February of 2020, we have worked aggressively and around the clock to confront COVID-19 utilizing a medically-driven model,” said Middlesex Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian.  “Even while cases declined locally and nationally as we headed into the summer, we never wavered in our commitment to keep our staff, incarcerated population and visitors safe.  We continued to offer vaccinations and educational information regarding vaccines, conduct strategic testing, and encourage people to follow the CDC recommended steps for preventing the spread of the virus. We know we must remain vigilant against this virus.”

During that same timeframe, two MSO staff members tested positive for COVID-19.

In addition to the extensive testing protocols employed by the MSO:

  • The MSO has administered four first shots and 14 second shots of the Moderna vaccine, as well as 52 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to incarcerated individuals, since June 1. 
  • A total of 313 incarcerated individuals have received the first dose and 233 the second dose of the Moderna vaccine, while 92 received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine since the MSO began administering the vaccine in January,.  Over that timeframe, 404 individuals indicated they were vaccinated prior to booking.
  • Administered 441 first shots and 429 second shots of the Moderna vaccine to staff since January, as well as eight doses of Johnson & Johnson.
  • In May, the MSO became the first county correctional facility in the nation to partner with Cambridge-based Biobot Analytics to monitor and identify the presence of COVID-19 in the wastewater.

These measures are in addition to steps previously implemented at the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction including:

  • Working with an outside infectious diseases physician.
  • Quarantining all new admittances to the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction and testing them on their seventh day in custody.
  • Offering free, voluntary testing for MSO staff members.
  • Enhanced cleaning in the facility.

“Our thoughtful, medically-driven model, combined with the outstanding work of our staff has put us in a strong position as we enter this new phase of the pandemic,” said Sheriff Koutoujian.  “But we know we are not a city on a hill and as cases tick up in the community, it’s critical we all maintain our high level of readiness.”
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April 16, 2021 – 10:50 a.m. (Update #64)
As part of ongoing COVID-19 health and safety protocols, the MSO today announced it has conducted 62 COVID-19 tests among incarcerated individuals since March 25, with 58 results returning negative.  Four individuals – all who of whom had been in precautionary quarantine since their arrival – tested positive.

The MSO’s COVID-19 safety protocols include quarantining individuals upon arrival and testing them on the seventh day prior to placement into the facility’s general population. 

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April 2, 2021 – 4:35 p.m. (Update #63)
The Middlesex Sheriff’s Office announced today that updated visitation procedures have been announced and a new schedule has been posted.  Routine visits will no longer need to be scheduled in advance.

Please note visitors must be in attendance no later than 10 minutes before the visiting start time and that visits are limited to two (2) adults and two (2) children maximum per visit for a period of 45 minutes.  Visitors must wear face masks at all times.

More information on visits can be found on the Visitor Information & Forms page of the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office website.

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March 18, 2021 – 1:51 p.m. (Update #62)
As part of the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office (MSO) COVID-19 safety protocols, the MSO conducted 32 COVID-19 tests earlier this week involving incarcerated individuals.  Results showed that 29 individuals tested negative, while three (3) individuals who had recently arrived at the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction tested positive. 

All three individuals who tested positive had been in a precautionary quarantine setting since their admittance.  The MSO’s COVID-19 safety protocols include quarantining individuals upon arrival and testing them on the seventh day prior to placement into the facility’s general population. 

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February 13, 2021 – 9:00 a.m.  (Update #61)
The Middlesex Sheriff’s Office today announced it has completed follow-up COVID tests on 30 individuals incarcerated at the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction.  The tests found 28 negatives and two (2) positives.

These 30 tests were conducted on individuals who had previously tested negative during the week of February 1 – 6.  All of the individuals had been in a precautionary quarantine since their arrival at the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction and had been tested in accordance with MSO COVID-19 safety protocols following positive tests among other individuals in quarantine.

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February 6, 2021 – 2:41 p.m. (Update #60)
As part of the Middlesex Sheriff's Office (MSO) COVID-19 safety protocols, 34 COVID-19 tests were conducted on newly admitted individuals at the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction on Thursday and Friday with 28 negative and six (6) positive results.  

The MSO’s COVID-19 safety protocols include quarantining individuals upon arrival and testing them on the seventh day prior to placement into the facility’s general population. 

Consistent with MSO practice, those who tested negative will receive a follow up test in one week.

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February 3, 2021 – 8:50 p.m. (Update #59)
The Middlesex Sheriff’s Office (MSO) today confirmed three (3) additional cases of COVID-19 inside a housing area for individuals newly admitted to the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction.  Fourteen (14) other individuals tested in the same group returned negative results.

The three (3) cases confirmed this morning bring to five (5), the total number of cases identified.  All five (5) individuals who have tested positive had been in precautionary quarantine since their intake and had not been placed in the general population.  The first two (2) cases were identified as part of the MSO’s protocol of testing individuals on the seventh day of their incarceration, prompting the additional tests.

Those individuals who tested positive will be retested in one week, at the direction of our infectious diseases physician.

This week’s cases are the first involving incarcerated individuals at the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction since September 29, 2020.  Two hundred twenty (220) tests of incarcerated individuals have been administered in that time.

“Ensuring the health and safety our staff and those in our custody is our top priority,” said Middlesex Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian.  “These new cases highlight the fact we are not a fortress on a hill and that the issues impacting our communities, impact our facility as well.  In the days and weeks ahead we will continue to follow the medically-driven approach we established last February and reinforce crucial mitigation efforts including mask wearing.”

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February 2, 2021 - 7:59 p.m. (Update #58)
The Middlesex Sheriff’s Office (MSO) today announced two (2) recently admitted incarcerated individuals have tested positive for COVID-19, while 166 incarcerated individuals at the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction have now received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.  

The two positive cases are the first among 200 incarcerated individuals tested in 18 weeks, with the last positive having been reported on September 29.  Three (3) other individuals tested at the same time this week were negative.

Both individuals who tested positive had entered the facility and were placed in a precautionary quarantine in keeping with MSO protocols.  The two men – who have now been placed in medical isolation – were tested Monday in accordance with a MSO protocol in which individuals are tested on the seventh day following their admittance. Both protocols were implemented with guidance from public health and infectious diseases professionals.

“The fact we were able to identify these two cases before the individuals entered the general population is further evidence that our approach and the protocols we have in place have been effective,” said Middlesex Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian.  “Over the past 11 months, we have implemented a medically driven approach to our COVID-19 planning and response.” 

As a result of this week’s positive results, additional precautionary testing will be conducted among other individuals in that unit.  Out of an abundance of caution, movement in the unit has been modified.

The 166 vaccinations announced today include all incarcerated individuals who initially indicated they wished to receive them since the MSO began vaccinating incarcerated individuals on January 21.  In addition, 363 members of the MSO have received their first doses of the vaccine.  The Commonwealth’s COVID-19 vaccination plan identified those living and working in congregate settings – including jails – as a priority group within Phase One.  

In an ongoing effort to increase vaccine participation among incarcerated individuals the MSO has taken – and is continuing to take – numerous steps including:

  • Surveying the incarcerated population.
  • Produced video Q&As with Tufts Medical Center infectious diseases physician Dr. Alysse Wurcel.
  • Hosted Ask Me Anything (AMA) sessions for incarcerated individuals to ask questions regarding the vaccine with Dr. Wurcel and Dr. Kathryn Stephenson (Harvard University).
  • Posted signage around the facility regarding vaccinations.
  • Made internal medical staff available to answer questions and provide information about the vaccine.
  • Asking newly incarcerated individuals upon admittance to the facility if they wish to receive the vaccine.  
  • Following up with all incarcerated individuals who decline the vaccine.

In addition to these steps, the MSO has also undertaken numerous mitigation efforts to date including:

  • Offering free, voluntary testing for MSO staff members.
  • Requiring staff working inside the facility to wear masks for the duration of their shifts.
  • Requiring incarcerated individuals residing in cells to wear masks them when outside their cells.  Those individuals residing in dorm settings must wear a mask at all times.
  • Issuing incarcerated individuals a new mask each week.
  • Encouraging individuals inside the facility to continue to follow CDC recommended steps for preventing the spread of the virus.  This includes frequently washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and maintaining social distance.

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January 21, 2021 - 6:17 p.m. (Update #57)
The Middlesex Sheriff’s Office (MSO) today began vaccinating staff and incarcerated individuals in accordance with the timeline established by the Baker-Polito Administration and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH).

Those living and working in congregate settings (including jails and shelters) have been identified as the fourth priority group within Phase One of the Commonwealth’s COVID-19 vaccination plan.

By the end of today, approximately 130 total staff members and incarcerated individuals will have received the first dose of the Moderna vaccine.  Vaccinations will resume on Friday morning.

“Today marks a critical milestone in our ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic, but it is important to note it is neither our first nor our last step,” said Middlesex Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian.  “Over the past 11 months we have taken a medically-driven approach to our response, implementing a series of measures designed to mitigate the impact of COVID including mask mandates and quarantining newly committed individuals.  As a result of these steps, we are now approaching four consecutive months – almost 180 tests – without a positive case in the incarcerated population.” 

Over the coming days and weeks, the MSO will continue to administer first and second doses to any individuals who voluntarily choose to receive them.  Individuals released from custody prior to receiving their second dose will be given a CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card that identifies the date of their initial dose, which vaccine they were given and the date they are slated for their next dose.

Results of a recently completed baseline survey showed that 40 percent of incarcerated individuals who responded said they would want to receive the vaccine if it was available to them, while one-third of those respondents who initially said they would not agree to be vaccinated, indicated they were open to changing their minds.  

Utilizing information gathered from the survey including age, race and reasons for not wanting the vaccine, the MSO will continue to engage individuals in an effort to further educate those who initially decline the vaccine.  

The survey showed that nearly 31 percent of those who said they were not interested in the vaccine were most concerned with safety and effectiveness, while approximately 7.5 percent said they were most concerned about a rushed timeline.

As part of efforts to educate individuals and answer questions about the vaccine, Middlesex Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian and Doctors Alysse Wurcel (Tufts Medical Center) and Kathryn Stephenson (Harvard University), met with two groups of incarcerated individuals earlier this week.  The ongoing education effort will also include FAQ sheets and videos, among other measures.

In addition to those steps, Sheriff Koutoujian and several members of the MSO command staff received an initial dose today in an effort to demonstrate their confidence in the vaccine to those being held in custody at the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction.

Today’s vaccinations are in addition to the 103 members of the MSO – frontline healthcare workers and others deemed eligible per DPH guidelines – who had received their initial doses earlier this month.

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January 19, 2021 - 8:40 p.m. (Update #56)
With COVID-19 vaccinations set to soon begin at the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction, incarcerated individuals had an opportunity today to ask questions of infectious diseases doctors.

Middlesex Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian and Doctors Alysse Wurcel (Tufts Medical Center) and Kathryn Stephenson (Harvard University) addressed incarcerated individuals and took questions during Ask Me Anything (AMA) sessions on Tuesday, January 19.  The questions asked – combined with feedback from a baseline survey conducted earlier this month – will be used to construct FAQ sheets and an informational video to be available throughout the facility.

Results of the baseline survey released last week showed that approximately 40 percent of incarcerated respondents indicated they would want to receive the vaccine.

“Today’s sessions were an incredible opportunity for some of those in our custody to ask the experts questions about the vaccine,” said Sheriff Koutoujian.   “It was abundantly clear from listening to the questions posed by the individuals that we met with today, that there is a great amount of interest in the vaccine.  And while some have already made the decision to be vaccinated, even more are open to doing so.”

Questions asked today focused on a variety of topics including the development timeline, whether any immunity is garnered from the first shot, as well as whether individuals should continue to wear masks after being vaccinated.

Under the Commonwealth’s vaccination plan, those living and working in congregate settings (including jails) may begin to be vaccinated this week.

To date, the MSO has gone nearly four (4) months without a positive COVID-19 test despite conducting over 160 tests amongst its incarcerated population during that timeframe.

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January 13, 2021 - 6:15 p.m. (Update #55)
Hoping to provide data that will improve the national rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations in corrections, the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office (MSO) announced today that it has performed a baseline survey to capture the willingness to receive vaccines amongst correctional employees and incarcerated individuals.

To date, the MSO has gone nearly four (4) months without a positive COVID-19 test despite conducting over 160 tests amongst its incarcerated population during that timeframe.

The results of the baseline survey, offered to all staff and incarcerated individuals, found that 80 percent of staff and 40 percent of incarcerated individuals who responded indicated they would want to receive the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available to them. Of those incarcerated individuals who responded they would not initially agree to be vaccinated 60.17% percent indicated they were open to either changing their minds or receiving further education on vaccination.

“At the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office, we use data every day to guide our decision-making and craft the best approaches to a host of critical issues,” said Middlesex Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian.  “With these baseline surveys, we can not only understand how many people are initially interested in receiving vaccinations, but how we can encourage more people to receive them through educational and informational efforts.”

Results of the survey of incarcerated individuals are being used to plan upcoming educational sessions at the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction by outside medical experts.  A second survey of the incarcerated population will be conducted following the educational sessions to determine whether attitudes towards the vaccine change.

“It’s my hope that through the process we will be better positioned to serve our staff, those in our care and their families,” said Sheriff Koutoujian.  “I believe this data and process can help our colleagues across the Commonwealth and the nation as they map out plans to administer vaccines to their staff and individuals in their custody.”

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has determined that those working and living in congregate care settings – including correctional facilities – will be eligible to receive the vaccine in Phase One of the distribution plan.  Administration of the vaccine at the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction will be conducted on a voluntary basis. 

“I interpret the survey results from MSO staff and incarcerated individuals as very promising,” said Dr. Alysse Wurcel, a Tufts Medical Center infectious diseases physician who has been advising the MSO since last February.  “Understanding vaccine willingness and hesitancy in both employees and incarcerated individuals is the first crucial step in successfully operationalizing COVID-19 vaccination in the jails.  The data collected by Sheriff Koutoujian is the first I am seeing on COVID-19 vaccination interest amongst people in jail in the nation, and it will help us develop better, smarter educational programs and policy.  I hope to see this data shared and potentially published as we work towards protecting those in congregate care settings from COVID-19.”

To date, 103 MSO staff members have been vaccinated.  All personnel were frontline healthcare workers and officers deemed eligible per Massachusetts Department of Public Health guidelines and work in assignments such as intake, health services, and mental health.

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December 18, 2020 - 6:56 p.m. (Update #54)
Despite marking 11 consecutive weeks without a positive test amongst its incarcerated population, the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office (MSO) has proactively increased efforts to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 at the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction. 

Since the last positive result in the incarcerated population, 107 tests have been conducted with all returning negative.

“With COVID cases rising across the Commonwealth, the health and safety of all our employees and those in our custody remains our top priority,” said Middlesex Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian.  “That is why we launched a new, voluntary testing program for staff at the beginning of December.  This previously announced testing program was initiated by our office and implemented in consultation with infectious disease physician Dr. Alysse Wurcel.  It has already allowed us to more quickly and proactively identify cases among staff, conduct immediate contact tracing and mitigate the spread.”

As of today, there are currently 23 staff members out as a result of a positive test.  There is no indication that any of the positives have come from the incarcerated population, but rather through community exposures. 

In addition to the voluntary staff testing, the MSO has also enhanced testing for incarcerated individuals. While all new individuals are screened for symptoms upon admittance, all asymptomatic individuals are now also being tested for COVID on the seventh day or their quarantine, prior to placement in the general population.

“As we have from the outset of this pandemic, we will continue to work in close collaboration with Dr. Wurcel and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health in the days and weeks ahead on mitigation efforts and response.”

Among the mitigation efforts undertaken to date are:

  • Medical screenings for all newly incarcerated individuals entering the facility.
  • Requiring staff working inside the facility to wear masks for the duration of their shifts.
  • Requiring incarcerated individuals residing in cells to wear masks them when outside their cells.  Those individuals residing in dorm settings must wear a mask at all times.
  • Issuing incarcerated individuals a new mask each week.
  • Encouraging individuals inside the facility to continue to follow CDC recommended steps for preventing the spread of the virus.  This includes frequently washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and maintaining social distance.

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December 4, 2020 - 8:37 p.m. (Update #53)
The Middlesex Sheriff’s Office (MSO) has not had a positive case amongst its incarcerated population in nearly 10 weeks.  Notwithstanding this accomplishment, cases of COVID-19 are continuing to rise in communities across Middlesex County and the Commonwealth.  In response, the MSO is outlining a series of new and existing steps designed to mitigate the risk of spread at the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction.  These measures will help ensure incarcerated individuals are able to continue programming while remaining connected to loved ones.

“Thanks to the diligent efforts of staff, incarcerated individuals and our medical advisors, we have not reported a positive case amongst our incarcerated population in nearly 10 weeks,” said Middlesex Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian.  “Despite these efforts, we are going further.  We know that continued vigilance is our best protection from this virus.”

Since the last positive test on September 29, 60 tests for incarcerated individuals have been completed with all having returned negative. Prior to this single positive result, a positive test was not received at the MSO since August 13.  Nearly 100 tests have come back negative during that period.

The new measures being implemented include:

  • Shifting some in-person programming currently facilitated by volunteers and outside contractors to virtual.  This will be in addition to other programs already being offered virtually.
  • Offering free, voluntary testing for MSO staff members two days per week at the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction.
  • Limiting outside vendor activities to emergency services only.

The steps outlined above are in addition to previously implemented measures that remain in place including:

  • All staff working inside the facility are required to wear masks for the duration of their shifts.  Incarcerated individuals residing in cells must wear them when outside their cells.  Those individuals residing in dorm settings must wear a mask at all times.
  • All incarcerated individuals are issued a new mask weekly.
  • Medical screenings for all new incarcerated individuals entering the facility.
  • Encouraging individuals inside the facility to continue to follow CDC recommended steps for preventing the spread of the virus.  This includes frequently washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and maintaining social distance.
  • All incarcerated individuals are currently being offered one free, five-minute call per week.
  • In-person visitation is ongoing, however will be reviewed on a daily basis.

In addition, our Family Resource and Outreach Coordinator (978-932-3517) continues to serve as a central point of contact for families with specific questions or concerns about their loved ones.  Individuals or families with urgent concerns outside of normal business hours should contact 978-667-1711 ext. 0.  

To learn more about the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office COVID-19 response, please visit middlesexsheriff.org/covid19.

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November 16, 2020 - 2:39 p.m. (Update #52)
The Middlesex Sheriff’s Office (MSO) today announced it is entering a seventh consecutive week without an individual testing positive for COVID-19 while incarcerated inside the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction.

During those weeks, 43 COVID-19 tests were administered.  Of the 43 tests, eight (8) were for symptomatic individuals, while 35 were for precautionary reasons including outside housing placements.  All 43 returned negative.

“Since February, we have worked aggressively to prepare for and respond to COVID-19, implementing a comprehensive, medically-driven strategy of education, prevention and intervention,” said Middlesex Sheriff Peter J. Koutouijan.  “With cases continuing to increase outside our walls in communities across the Commonwealth, we recognize we are not a fortress on a hill and must remain vigilant.  With new individuals entering our custody each day from the community we know it’s not a matter of if we see new cases, but when.  As we have from the outset, we will continue to follow the direction of medical professionals including infectious disease physician Dr. Alysse Wurcel and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.”

Among the steps the MSO has implemented to address COVID-19 are:

  • Enhancing medical screening for newly committed individuals entering the facility.
  • Staff must wear masks while inside the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction.
  • Incarcerated individuals must wear masks while in common areas.
  • Individuals are being encouraged to follow CDC recommended steps for preventing the spread of the virus.  This includes frequently washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

To learn more about the MSO’s COVID-19 response please visit: middlesexsheriff.org/covid19.

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November 14, 2020 - 10:32 a.m. (Update #51)
Middlesex Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian has announced that effective on Monday, November 16, all incarcerated individuals being held at the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction will be provided one free five-minute phone call per week until further notice.

“Maintaining connections to community supports is critically important for those in our care and custody,” said Sheriff Koutoujian.  “These free calls will supplement restored in-person visits as part of our ongoing, comprehensive COVID-19 response.”

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November 13, 2020 - 9:24 a.m. (Update #50)
For a sixth consecutive week, the number of incarcerated individuals testing positive for COVID-19 stands at zero, the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office announced today.  

“Since February, the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office has worked aggressively to prepare for and respond to COVID-19,” said Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian.  “We have worked closely with and followed the direction of our internal medical professionals and outside experts including infectious disease physician Dr. Alysse Wurcel and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health focusing.  As we have since February, we will continue to focus our comprehensive, medically-driven strategy on education, prevention and intervention.”

During those six weeks, 42 COVID-19 tests were administered.  Of the 42 tests, seven (7) were for symptomatic individuals, while 35 were for precautionary reasons.  All 42 returned negative.

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November 5, 2020 – 5:20 p.m. (Update #49)
The Middlesex Sheriff’s Office today announced updates regarding visitation at the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction.

Visits, which resumed on August 16, are now being increased from once per week to twice per week.  In addition, effective Sunday, November 8, a maximum of two children per visitor will be allowed during visitation periods.

To find additional information regarding visitation please visit https://www.middlesexsheriff.org/middlesex-jail-house-correction/pages/visitor-information-forms.

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October 9, 2020 - 4:35 p.m. (Update #48)
The Middlesex Sheriff’s Office today announced that 27 incarcerated individuals tested for COVID-19 over the past week have all tested negative.  

“At the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office, we are following a medically driven model, guided by the Department of Public Health (DPH) and our outside, infectious disease physician, with whom we are in daily contact – sometimes multiple times a day,” said Middlesex Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian.  “We have followed every directive given to us by these medical experts, and will continue to do so.”  

Seventeen (17) of the 27 had been retested on the advice of our infectious disease physician following a previous positive test in one housing unit last week.  All 17 have now tested negative twice and the unit’s quarantine will now be lifted.

Of the remaining 10 tests, only one was for a symptomatic individual.

“As the Commonwealth continues its phased reopening, we recognize there is an increased risk of COVID entering our facility.  We are not a fortress on a hill, but rather a part of the community and we must all remain vigilant,” said Sheriff Koutoujian.  “The health, wellness and safety of all those who work at, live in and visit the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction are – and will continue to be – our top priorities.”

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October 1, 2020 – 8:03 p.m. (Update #47)
The Middlesex Sheriff’s Office today announced that eight (8) incarcerated individuals were tested for COVID-19 earlier this week with one person (1) testing positive and seven (7) negative. Of the eight (8) who were initially tested, only one was symptomatic and that individual tested negative.

Per protocol, the individual who tested positive will remain in medical isolation and movement in and out of his previous housing unit was limited pending additional testing.  Subsequent testing Wednesday of all those remaining in the unit (17 men) found no additional positive cases.  As a precaution, the unit will remain under quarantine until a second round of testing is completed next week.

The Middlesex Sheriff’s Office today also announced that one (1) staff member recently reported testing positive.  That individual will remain out of work until they receive medical clearance to return.

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August 6, 2020 - 8:33 p.m. (Update #46)
The Middlesex Sheriff’s Office has announced a plan to resume visits at the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction.

Effective August 16 – and until further notice – all visits will be by appointment only.  Visits may be requested in writing by those currently in custody, with staff scheduling each appointment.

All appointments will be subject to adjustment due to changes in COVID status at the facility.

Visits will be limited to adults only and one adult visitor per incarcerated individual during any single session.  A maximum of 10 visitors will be allowed during each session.  Areas will be cleaned and sanitized between each visiting session.

Visitors to the facility will be required to wear face masks at all times and follow other health and safety protocols established by the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office.  

With the resumption of in-person visits, free telephone calls that have been offered since visits were suspended on March 13 will be scaled back from four (4) per week to two (2) effective on August 14 and will continue until September 1.

Family members and other loved ones with questions regarding visits may direct inquiries to the Family Resource and Outreach Coordinator at 978-932-3517.

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August 6, 2020 - 8:33 p.m. (Update #45)
Effective Friday, August 7, individuals wishing to post bail at the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction are asked to arrive by 7 p.m. Monday - Friday and inform the officer at checkpoint that they are there to post bail.

Weekend bails will continue to be conducted on an on-call basis only.

To learn more about posting bail, please click here.

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July 23, 2020 - 5:00 p.m. (Update #44)
The Middlesex Sheriff’s Office today announced that three (3) incarcerated individuals tested positive for COVID-19 between July 16 - 23, 2020. 

The MSO today also announced that no staff members tested positive during the same period.

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July 21, 2020 - 5:45 p.m. (Update #43)
Yesterday afternoon, some incarcerated individuals at the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction began experiencing gastrointestinal issues. MSO medical staff evaluated all inmates who were experiencing symptoms. One individual was sent to an outside hospital for what was later determined to be a separate illness related to underlying health conditions.

Out of an abundance of caution, MSO officials consulted with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH). Both agencies are confident these issues are not related to COVID-19, but rather a foodborne illness. MSO medical providers and medical staff will continue to monitor this situation and address anyone who has symptoms. The MSO is also continuing to employ extensive cleaning and sanitization measures as part of its COVID-19 response, including:

  • Signage throughout the facility reminds staff and incarcerated individuals about proper self-care and hygiene, including regular handwashing and monitoring symptoms.
     
  • As always, incarcerated individuals have continuous access to antibacterial soap and water.
     
  • All MSO facilities undergo regular deep cleaning, and high traffic areas in the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction are cleaned and sanitized multiple times every shift.
     
  • Sterilization supplies – include sanitizing wipes and hand sanitizer – are distributed to every housing unit.
     
  • Facility meals are served on Styrofoam trays to reduce transmission risk
    .
  • Videos on preventative care, recorded by an infectious disease specialists, are played on facility televisions for the benefit of incarcerated individuals and staff.

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July 17, 2020 - 8:19 p.m. (Update #42)
The Middlesex Sheriff’s Office today announced that two (2) incarcerated individuals tested positive for COVID-19 between July 9 - 15, 2020. 

The MSO today also announced that no staff members tested positive during the same period.

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July 8, 2020 - 7:26 p.m. (Update #41)
The Middlesex Sheriff’s Office today announced seven individuals, including six Work Release and Community Work Program participants residing in a minimum security building, physically separated from the facility’s main housing structure, have tested positive for COVID-19.  All six minimum security cases are currently suspected to be as a result of community-based contacts outside the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction.

The seventh individual entered the facility having previously tested positive in the community.

Each of the individuals remains asymptomatic and all seven have been placed in medical isolation to be monitored.  These are the first positive tests involving any incarcerated individuals at the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction since mid-May.

“While the incredible efforts of our staff to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 resulted in six straight weeks without a positive test, we were always cognizant the virus could return – most likely as a result of a community contact or through a new arrestee,” said Middlesex Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian.  “With a constant flow of new admittances – nearly 750 since March 1 – it was never a matter of if we’d see more cases, but when – and we have been prepared to respond immediately.”

On Tuesday morning, the MSO received the initial positive result on a COVID test that had proactively been administered to an individual as part of his preparation for potential parole.  The individual, who participated in the office’s Work Release program, was immediately placed in medical isolation, per protocol, and all non-essential movement in and out the building was temporarily suspended.  In consultation with our infectious diseases expert 28 additional individuals living in the building were tested, with five positive results and 23 negatives.

Individuals participating in Work Release, are eligible to leave the facility to take part in employment activities at community-based jobsites and are monitored by GPS while outside the facility.  Those involved in the Community Work Program take part in both onsite and offsite painting, cleanup, beautification and other projects under the direct supervision of a correction officer.

The MSO has notified employers associated with the Work Release program of the results.

“Working with our infectious diseases specialist we will continue to maintain our high level of vigilance and preparation,” said Sheriff Koutoujian.  “As we have throughout this pandemic, we remain committed to ensuring the health and safety of all those who live in, work at and visit the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction.” 

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July 2, 2020 –  5:00 p.m. (Update #40)
For a fifth straight week, the number of incarcerated individuals testing positive for COVID-19 at the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction stands at zero, Middlesex Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian announced today.

“Over the past four months, our staff has done an incredible job confronting this unprecedented public health challenge,” said Sheriff Koutoujian.  “While we have reached an important milestone in our efforts to address COVID-19, we remain vigilant.  The health and safety of our incarcerated population, our staff, and our wider community remain our chief priority.”

During the last five weeks 14 total COVID tests were administered, all of which came back negative.  Of those 14 tests, ten were conducted as precautionary measures including seven of which were for individuals either re-entering the community or being transferred to other jurisdictions.  Four individuals entering the facility from the community were immediately isolated and tested based on medical protocols.

MSO Employees Donate Plasma

Sheriff Koutoujian also announced today that 11 MSO staff members who previously tested positive for COVID-19 – and have recovered – have donated plasma in the hopes of helping individuals who are still battling the virus.

“The men and women of the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office are dedicated professionals, committed to serving their communities and helping their fellow citizens,” said Sheriff Koutoujian.  “These 11 employees decided to create something positive out of their diagnosis, and it is a real testament to their selflessness.  I am incredibly proud of them for their thoughtfulness and desire to help others.”

The plasma of recovered COVID-19 individuals – also known as convalescent plasma – contains numerous proteins developed by that individual’s immune system to overcome the virus.  These antibodies have become the basis of medical interventions for patients with life-threatening diagnoses of COVID-19, as well as research into potential vaccines for the novel coronavirus.

“I’m lucky enough to have fully recovered from COVID-19 on my own,” said Crystal Miske, Program Coordinator for the Medication Assisted Treatment And Directed Opioid Recovery (MATADOR) program.  “With that, and just two hours of my time I could potentially save the lives of three people.  If I have the ability to give back by donating plasma to those who may not be as lucky to recover on their own, it’s a no brainer for me.  If it could save only one person, or buy a family a few more moments or days with their loved one, I’d still do it.  If you can help, you should.”

“Seeing the selflessness of all my colleagues when I was out of work, I felt bad I wasn’t able to be there to help,” said Officer Shawn Ankenbauer.  “I was inspired when I saw the doctors, nurses and others working weekends, nights and holidays to do their parts.  It was great to see everyone coming together and working together.  That’s what made me want to donate – to do my part to help.”

To learn more about plasma donations please visit https://www.fda.gov/emergency-preparedness-and-response/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19/donate-covid-19-plasma.

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June 23, 2020 –  9:00 p.m. (Update #39)
The Middlesex Sheriff’s Office today announced that zero (0) incarcerated individuals tested positive for COVID-19 between June 15-22.  There are no individuals presently in medical isolation as result of a positive COVID test.

This marks the fourth consecutive week in which no incarcerated individuals tested positive.

The MSO today also announced that zero (0) staff members tested positive during the same timeframe. This is the fifth consecutive week in which no staff members tested positive.

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June 15, 2020 – 5:00 p.m. (Update #38)
The Middlesex Sheriff’s Office announced today that zero (0) incarcerated individuals tested positive for COVID-19 between June 8-15, and there are no individuals presently in medical isolation as a result of a positive COVID test.  One individual tested negative in that period. 

This marks the third consecutive week in which no incarcerated individuals tested positive.

The MSO today also announced that no staff members tested positive during the same timeframe. This is the fourth consecutive week in which no staff members tested positive.

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June 10, 2020 – 9:25 a.m. (Update #37)
The Middlesex Sheriff’s Office today announced the Civil Process Division has reopened for limited services, though walk-in assistance remains suspended.

Attorneys and other members of the public may call the office at 617-547-1171 from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Monday – Friday for assistance. 

Until further notice, Civil Process staff will be serving:

  • All summons and complaints
  • Subpoenas
  • Probate services
  • Restraining orders and emergency orders issued by the courts

Staff will also be recording:

  • Writs of attachments & levies on real estate

Civil Process staff will not be carrying out:

  • Voluntary capias hearings or physical arrests
  • Evictions (unless issued by the court on an emergency basis)
  • Seizures on execution
  • Notices to quit
  • Orders of Notice for foreclosure
  • Utility shut offs

All documents may either be faxed to 617-868-7244 or mailed to Middlesex Sheriff’s Civil Process Division, 400 Mystic Ave., 3rd Floor, Medford, MA 02155.  All documents must be accompanied by the corresponding Drop Off Sheets which can be found at middlesexsheriff.org/civil.

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June 8, 2020 – 5:40 p.m. (Update #36)
The Middlesex Sheriff’s Office announced today that zero (0) incarcerated individuals tested positive for COVID-19 between June 1-8, and there are no individuals presently in medical isolation as a result of a positive COVID test.

This is the second consecutive week in which no incarcerated individuals tested positive.  Two (2) individuals tested negative between June 1-8.

“While I am proud to report we currently have no positive cases, we will remain diligent in our efforts,” said Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian in a press release last week.  “As individuals who have been arrested are processed into the facility from the community, we expect to see new cases arise, however with our existing protocols and processes we are prepared to handle them.”

The MSO today also announced that zero (0) staff members tested positive during the same timeframe.  This is the third consecutive week in which no staff members tested positive.

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June 4, 2020 – 7:00 (Update #35)
Middlesex Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian has announced the number of COVID-positive individuals being held at the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction now stands at zero, as the total custodial population has reached a new record low.

As of today, 562 individuals are in custody, down nearly 30 percent from 788 on March 7.

“I want to commend our entire staff – from the medical professionals and line officers to administrators and support staff – for their incredible work in responding to this pandemic,” said Sheriff Koutoujian.  “From the outset, their professionalism and meticulous efforts in the face of this international public health challenge have been nothing short of incredible.”

The sheriff also noted the cooperation of individuals in custody who are overwhelmingly complying with measures put in place to mitigate the spread of COVID, including medically recommended limitations placed on movement for the past several weeks and the requirement to wear masks in common areas.

“While I am proud to report we currently have no positive cases, we will remain diligent in our efforts,” said Sheriff Koutoujian.  “As arrestees are processed into the facility from the community, we expect to see new cases arise, however with our existing protocols and processes we are prepared to handle them.”

To date, four people have either entered the facility COVID-positive or tested positive upon admission.

This is the first time the incarcerated population has had zero positives since the initial case was confirmed on March 27.  In total, 41 incarcerated individuals were reported as positive with 40 having recovered and one (1) having been released prior to having completed his medical isolation period.

The decline in population – achieved as a result of collaborative efforts between the MSO, District Attorney Marian Ryan and the judiciary – allowed the office to implement steps to enhance social distancing efforts including the closure of multiple dormitory-style housing units.  Decisions by local law enforcement to increase their use of summons for certain offenses also led to a decline in the number of people entering the facility throughout the pandemic.

In addition to these steps, the MSO undertook a number of other steps to mitigate the impact of COVID including:

  • Enhanced focus on transparency in communication to employees, incarcerated individuals and the public.  We provided routine updates to staff regarding COVID cases and precautions.  We also provided regular updates to incarcerated individuals regarding changes and had video messages from Sheriff Koutoujian as well as our infectious diseases specialist.  Additionally, in the interest of transparency, we established a dedicated webpage (middlesexsheriff.org/covid19) for the public and families of those incarcerated at the Middlesex jail & House of Correction to find information regarding COVID19’s impact and our response.
  • Daily consultation with internal and external medical professionals including an infectious diseases specialist.
  • The implementation of new screening procedures for individuals being sent to the facility.
  • All staff working inside the facility are required to wear masks for the duration of their shifts.  Incarcerated individuals residing in cells must wear them when outside their cells.  Those individuals residing in a dorm, must wear a mask at all times.
  • Staff members are administered temperature checks at the beginning of their shifts. 
  • Symptomatic staff are being told to remain at home and contact their primary care physician (PCP).  Any symptomatic staff must be cleared by their medical provider and provide documentation to Human Resources before returning to work.
  • Vigorously enhanced cleaning of facilities and availability of cleaning products.
  • Encouraging individuals inside the facility to continue to follow CDC recommended steps for preventing the spread of the virus.  This includes frequently washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Enhanced the use of video and telephonic technology to facilitate court hearings.  More than 1,000 hearings have been held since mid-March.
  • Designated our Family Resource and Outreach Coordinator as the central point of contact for families with specific questions or concerns about their loved ones.  Individuals or families with urgent concerns outside of normal business hours should contact 978-667-1711 ext. 0.
  • All incarcerated individuals have access to four free phone calls of up to 20 minutes each, every week.

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June 1, 2020 – 7:05 p.m. (Update #34)
The Middlesex Sheriff’s Office has announced that zero (0) incarcerated individuals tested positive for COVID-19 between May 26-June 1, while five (5) individuals tested negative.  

As of June 1, 2020, the total number of individuals being monitored in response to positive test results stood at two (2).

In addition, the MSO announced zero (0) staff members tested positive during the same time period.

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May 27, 2020 - 10:03 a.m. (Update #33)
The Middlesex Sheriff’s Office has announced that two (2) incarcerated individuals tested positive for COVID-19 between May 18-25, while three (3) individuals tested negative.  

As of May 25, 2020, the total number of individuals being monitored in response to positive test results stood at three (3).

In addition, the MSO announced zero staff members tested positive during the same time period.

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May 18, 2020 - 8:56 p.m. (Update #32)
The Middlesex Sheriff’s Office has announced that one (1) incarcerated individual tested positive for COVID-19 between May 11-18 , while eight (8) individuals tested negative.  The one individual who tested positive was a new commitment.  This individual was identified at intake and immediately placed into medical isolation.

As of May 18, the total number of individuals being monitored in response to positive test results stood at three (3).

In addition, the MSO announced a total of one (1) staff member tested positive, while four (4) staff members returned to work during the same time period.

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May 14, 2020 – 6:20 p.m. (Update #31)
The Middlesex Sheriff’s Office today announced an extension of the temporary suspension of certain services through May 31, 2020.

This extension encompasses all MSO locations, except for the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction.  The suspension of operations includes the civil process office and counseling center.

Payroll, human resources, purchasing, accounting, legal and executive staff functions will continue to operate as normal and personnel assigned to those departments will work remotely.

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May 12, 2020 - 9:44 a.m. (Update #30)
The Middlesex Sheriff’s Office has announced one (1) incarcerated individual tested positive for COVID-19 between May 4-11, while seven (7) individuals tested negative.  As of May 11, the total number of individuals being monitored in response to positive test results stood at two (2).

Thirty-three (33) individuals who had previously tested positive have recovered.  All individuals have completed their medical isolation period and are following our COVID-19 stepdown procedure.

In addition, the MSO announced a total of one (1) staff members tested positive, while 10 staff members returned to work during the same time period.

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May 5, 2020 – 5:37 p.m. (Update #29)
The Middlesex Sheriff’s Office has announced two (2) incarcerated individuals tested positive for COVID-19 between April 27 – May 3, while six other individuals tested negative.  As of May 4, the total number of individuals being monitored for test results stood at eight (8).

Twenty-seven (27) individuals who had previously tested positive have recovered.  All individuals have completed their medical isolation period and are following our COVID-19 stepdown procedure.

In addition, the MSO announced a total of one (1) staff member tested positive, while 12 staff members returned to work during the same time period.

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May 4, 2020 – 9:23 a.m. (Update #28)
Middlesex Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian announced the population currently under supervision has dropped to below 600 individuals – a nearly 25 percent drop since mid-March.

“On March 12, we had 787 people either sentenced or awaiting trial,” said Sheriff Koutoujian.  “Today, we have 594.  This is a result of multiple processes we began back in early March to reduce our population in a safe and precise manner.  We have taken action – by tripling the number of individuals on electronic monitoring and by collaborating with District Attorney Marian Ryan to conduct bail reviews – to balance the public safety and public health needs of this unique moment.”

The drop in population has also been aided by a decline in new arrestees, scheduled releases for sentenced individuals, and the recent Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruling allowing pretrial individuals being held on certain charges to have their bail revisited.

As a result of this decline, the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office has also announced the temporary closure of a fourth dormitory-style housing unit.  On April 10 – following an initial 15 percent reduction in population – the MSO announced the temporary closure of three dormitory-style units.

The drop in population and closure of the dorms, combined with other steps modifying movement within the facility has allowed for an enhancement of social distancing practices within the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction.

These are in addition to the numerous steps, the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office has taken to mitigate and respond to COVID-19 since early March, including:

  • Routine consultation with internal and external medical professionals including an infectious diseases specialist.
  • The implementation of new screening procedures for individuals being sent to the facility.
  • All staff working inside the facility are required to wear masks for the duration of their shifts.  Incarcerated individuals residing in cells to wear them when outside their cells.  Those individuals residing in the dorm, must wear a mask at all times.
  • Symptomatic staff are being told to remain at home and contact their primary care physician (PCP).  Any symptomatic staff must be cleared by their medical provider and provide documentation to Human Resources before returning to work.
  • Staff members are administered temperature checks at the beginning of their shifts. 
  • All incarcerated individuals have access to four free phone calls of up to 20 minutes each, every week.
  • Designated our Family Resource and Outreach Coordinator Lili Bonilla as the central point of contact for families with specific questions or concerns about their loved ones.  Lili can be reached at 978-932-3517 or by emailing lbonilla@sdm.state.ma.us.  Individuals or families with urgent concerns outside of normal business hours should contact 978-667-1711 ext. 0.
  • Vigorously enhanced cleaning of facilities and availability of cleaning products.
  • Encouraging individuals inside the facility to continue to follow CDC recommended steps for preventing the spread of the virus.  This includes frequently washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

“The decisions we are making and the steps we are taking are focused on ensuring the safety of those in our custody, our staff and the communities we serve,” said Koutoujian.  “We will not waiver from our commitment to meeting those objectives.”

 

April 30, 2020 – 3:13 p.m. (Update #27)
In accordance with Governor Baker’s updated order regarding essential services, the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office will be continuing the temporary suspension of certain services until Monday, May 18, 2020.

All MSO locations – except for the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction – have temporarily suspended operations.  The suspension of operations includes the executive and civil process offices, as well as the counseling center.

Designated essential personnel working at the effected locations are continuing to work remotely in order to provide support services.

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April 27, 2020 – 9:37 p.m. (Update #26)
The Middlesex Sheriff’s Office has announced five (5) incarcerated individuals tested positive for COVID-19 since last Monday (April 20).  The results bring the total number of individuals who were currently being monitored as a result of positive tests to 21 as of April 27.

Twelve (12) individuals who previously tested positive have recovered, cleared medical isolation and moved into a stepdown process as of April 27.

In addition, the MSO announced a total of six (6) staff members tested positive during the same time period.  Twenty-seven (27) staff members who had tested positive have now returned to work.

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April 23, 2020 – 7:47 p.m. (Update #25)
With the season of Ramadan upon us, the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office is ensuring the spiritual needs of those of the Muslim faith currently incarcerated at the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction are being addressed.

The MSO chaplaincy team has been working to ensure that individuals of the Muslim faith have access to Qurans as well as the opportunity to participate in the evening tradition of breaking fast. Preparations are also underway to celebrate Eid next month. 

While the MSO has implemented numerous steps to mitigate the impact of COVID-19, chaplains have been working to guarantee religious services are continuing.  Last month, chaplains made sure inmates of the Jewish faith received Seder Plates and prayer books for Passover, while Protestant and Catholic chaplains recorded Easter services that were broadcast inside the facility.

“Faith is a critical pillar for many of those in our custody,” said Middlesex Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian.  “We are committed to making sure individuals are able to continue to practice their faith during these extraordinary times.”

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April 22, 2020 – 4:46 p.m. (Update #24)
The Middlesex Sheriff’s Office today announced 14 incarcerated individuals tested positive for COVID-19 between April 14 – 20. 

In addition, the MSO announced a total of five (5) staff members tested positive during the same time period (April 14 – 20).  As of Tuesday, 16 staff members who previously tested positive have been medically cleared to return to work.  Additional staff are expected to return in the coming days.

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April 15, 2020 – 8:14 p.m. (Update #23)
The Middlesex Sheriff’s Office today announced it has temporarily implemented steps to modify movement within the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction.

The decision is part of continuing efforts to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 at the facility and was communicated to individuals inside the facility Tuesday.  This step is designed to help enhance social distancing efforts by minimizing the number of individuals in contact with one another at any given time.

As part of this new effort:

  • Recreation, phones and showers will be modified to allow for a maximum of eight (8) incarcerated individuals at any one time in a housing unit.
  • All court proceedings shall continue when scheduled.
  • All individuals will be fed within their cells and housing units.
  • All canteen shall be delivered on schedule.
  • There will be an increase in rounds made by medical and mental health staff, as well as by caseworkers.

This step follows a series of other efforts implemented by the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office since the beginning of March including:

  • Closing three dormitory-style housing units last week.
  • Vigorously enhanced cleaning of facilities and availability of cleaning products.
  • Encouraging individuals inside the facility to continue to follow CDC recommended steps for preventing the spread of the virus.  This includes frequently washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Daily consultation with an infectious diseases specialist advising the Middesex Sheriff’s Office.
  • Suspending non-professional visits and implementing non-contact visits for attorneys.
  • Allowing four (4) free phone calls per week for each incarcerated individual.
  • Requiring staff to wear protective masks for their duration of their shifts and providing masks to all incarcerated individuals who request one.

The Middlesex Sheriff’s Office is also continuing to remind the public that Family Resource and Outreach Coordinator Lili Bonilla has been designated as the central point of contact for families who may have questions or concerns about loved ones.  Ms. Bonilla can be reached at 978-932-3517 or by emailing lbonilla@sdm.state.ma.us.  Individuals or families with urgent concerns outside of normal business hours should contact 978-667-1711 ext. 0.

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April 14, 2020 – 7:49 p.m. (Update #22)
The Middlesex Sheriff’s Office today announced five (5) incarcerated individuals tested positive for COVID-19 from April 10 – 13.  The results bring the total number of individuals currently being monitored as a result of positive tests to 11.

Two (2) individuals who previously tested positive have recovered, cleared medical isolation and have moved into a step down process.

In addition, the MSO announced a total of 16 correctional officers tested positive during the same time period (April 10 – 13).  As of today, two (2) staff members who previously tested positive have been medically cleared to return to work and additional staff are expected to return in the coming days.

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April 11, 2020 – 4:50 p.m. (Update #21)
During this Passover and Easter, the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office is working to ensure the spiritual needs of those in our custody are continuing to be met despite measures implemented to mitigate the impact of COVID-19.

Earlier this week, our Religious Services Coordinator Pastor Pierce VanDunk worked with our Jewish chaplain to make sure every individual of Jewish faith received Seder Plates and prayer books.

For those in our care of Christian faiths, we are broadcasting Easter services specifically created for them. The Protestant and Catholic services were recorded at off-site locations by our chaplains and will be played this weekend inside the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction.

With the start of Ramadan coming up at the end of April, the chaplaincy team has also already begun preparations to meet the needs of Muslims in our custody.

“I want to thank all our chaplains for their efforts during this unprecedented time,” said Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian.

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April 10, 2020 – 9:23 a.m. (Update #20)
A 15 percent reduction in population at the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction – driven by proactive steps taken by the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office and public safety partners – has allowed us to temporarily close multiple dormitory-style housing units.

These efforts were in place weeks before last Friday’s ruling by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in the case filed by the Committee for Public Counsel Services (SJC-12926) seeking to have individuals released from custody.

“In consultation with Dr. Alysse Wurcel – the infectious disease specialist who has been advising us since late February – we decided to temporarily close three dorms including our Housing Unit for Military Veterans,” said Middlesex Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian.  “The movement of individuals from these units to areas where we can further space individuals out, allows us to enhance social distancing practices.”

The reduction in population over the past four weeks provided us with the flexibility to move individuals on Wednesday.  The decline is a direct result of actions taken by the MSO, the district attorney, local law enforcement and the courts, in combination with the completion of sentences.  Among the most significant efforts undertaken by the MSO was a drastic increase in the volume of video and phone conferences facilitated from the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction, allowing cases – including bail reviews – to move forward while courts have largely been closed to the public.  Between March 18 and April 9, over 400 such conferences were held.

“Ensuring the health and well-being of our employees and those in our custody are our top priorities,” said Sheriff Koutoujian.  “Over the past six weeks we have implemented a series of steps designed to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 including enhancing medical screening for newly committed individuals, requiring staff to wear protective masks for the duration of their shifts and making masks available to any incarcerated individual who requests one.  Wednesday’s move was the next step in that effort.”

The MSO has also implemented the following steps:

  • Symptomatic staff are being told to remain at home and contact their primary care physician (PCP).  Any symptomatic staff must be cleared by their medical provider and provide documentation to Human Resources before returning to work.
  • Provided thermometers, germicidal cloths and gloves for staff to conduct self-temperature checks.  Staff have the ability to check their temperatures on their way in, during the shift and before they return home.
  • Doubled the number of individuals placed in Electronic Monitoring Program (EMP) since March 20.  Ninety (90) percent of the new individuals from the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction are age 55+.  Also added since March 20, was one female from MCI-Framingham.
  • Eighty (80) pretrial individuals identified by the MSO, the DA and defense attorneys had their bail reduced after review by the DA and courts as of this past Monday.  Forty-eight (48) of those individuals had already been confirmed to have been released from the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction as of Monday.  The total number released does not include women held at MCI-Framingham or men held in other jurisdictions.
  • Offering four free phone calls of up to 20 minutes each for incarcerated individuals every week beginning on March 13. 
  • Designated our Family Resource and Outreach Coordinator Lili Bonilla as the central point of contact for families.  Lili can be reached at 978-932-3517 or by emailing lbonilla@sdm.state.ma.us.  Individuals or families with urgent concerns outside of normal business hours should contact 978-667-1711 ext. 0.
  • Vigorously enhanced cleaning of facilities and availability of cleaning products.
  • Encouraging individuals inside the facility to continue to follow CDC recommended steps for preventing the spread of the virus.  This includes frequently washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

For information regarding the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office COVID-19 response, please visit our dedicated webpage middlesexsheriff.org/covid19.

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April 9, 2020 – 9:29 p.m. (Update #19)
The Middlesex Sheriff’s Office (MSO) today announced one incarcerated individual has tested positive for COVID-19.  The results were returned this morning.

The individual, who was tested Wednesday and already in the Health Services Unit (HSU), will remain there in medical isolation.  Today’s case brings the total number of incarcerated individuals who have tested positive at the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction to eight.

For information regarding the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office COVID-19 response, please visit our dedicated webpage middlesexsheriff.org/covid19.

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April 8, 2020 – 8:13 p.m. (Update #18)
The Middlesex Sheriff’s Office today announced one incarcerated individual has tested positive for COVID-19.  The results were returned this morning.

The individual, who was tested yesterday and already in the Health Services Unit (HSU), will remain there in medical isolation.  Today’s case brings the total number of incarcerated individuals who have tested positive at the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction to seven.

As a result of the positive test, movement in and out of the housing unit in which the individual previously resided will be restricted to essential personnel.

For information regarding the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office COVID-19 response, please visit our dedicated webpage middlesexsheriff.org/covid19.

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April 7, 2020 – 10:30 p.m. (Update #17)
The Middlesex Sheriff’s Office today announced four incarcerated individuals have tested positive for COVID-19.

The individuals were tested Monday after displaying symptoms associated with COVID-19.  All four individuals were medically isolated in the Health Services Unit (HSU) and tested in accordance with our pre-established response plan.  Results of the tests were received Tuesday.

The four cases bring the total number of incarcerated individuals who have tested positive at the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction to six.  The first two individuals who tested positive on March 27 & 28 were roommates who were immediately placed in medical isolation and are expected to complete their quarantine periods this week.

As a result of the new positive tests, movement in and out of an additional housing unit will be limited to only those presently living in the unit and essential staff.   Movement in the housing unit where the first two cases came from also remains limited at this time.

The MSO also announced today that 13 additional employees have tested positive, bringing the total to 21.

All those employees who have tested positive are remaining off duty until cleared by medical professionals to return to work.

In an effort to mitigate the impact of COVID-19, the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office has taken a number of steps since the end of February including:

  • Enhancing medical screening for new individuals entering the facility beginning on March 4.
  • Consulting daily with an infectious disease specialist.
  • Suspending in-person visits for family and friends, as well as volunteer services, as of March 13.
  • Requiring staff to wear a protective mask for the duration of their shift and providing masks to all incarcerated individuals who request one beginning on April 1.
  • Telling symptomatic staff to remain at home and contact their primary care physician (PCP).Any symptomatic staff must be cleared by their medical provider and provide documentation to Human Resources before returning to work.
  • Providing equipment for staff entering the facility to take temperature checks beginning on April 3.

To learn more about the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office response to COVID-19 please visit our dedicated webpage middlesexsheriff.org/covid19

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April 7, 2020 – 4:20 p.m. (Update #16)
Middlesex Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian announced today the population being held at the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction has dropped by over 100 individuals in less than four weeks to 681 as a result of direct actions taken by the MSO, the district attorney, local law enforcement and the courts, in combination with the completion of sentences.  The drop represents a 15 percent decline in population.

The steps taken by the MSO and its colleagues predated the recent ruling by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in the case filed by the Committee for Public Counsel Services (SJC-12926) seeking to have individuals released from custody.

“Since mid-March we have worked aggressively, both independently and with our public safety colleagues, to evaluate those in our custody for potential release. We have placed more sentenced individuals into the Electronic Monitoring Program (EMP), collaborated with District Attorney Marian Ryan and the judiciary to review individuals being held on bail, and made every effort to ensure court and medical appointments for our incarcerated population are being kept,” said Sheriff Koutoujian. “In fact, our staff made nearly 400 video and phone conferences for court appointments in just under three weeks. We are ensuring that our responsibility as a law enforcement agency – to both provide safety for the community and access to justice for those in our custody – is continuing to be met during this crisis.”

Evaluations for all forms of release – including EMP – have included an emphasis on elderly individuals and those with chronic health conditions as outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

These processes have led to:

  • A doubling of individuals placed on EMP since March 20, bringing the number to 16.  Ninety percent of the new individuals are age 55+.
  • Eighty (80) pretrial individuals identified by the MSO, the DA and defense attorneys having their bail reduced after review by the DA and courts.  Forty-eight (48) have already been confirmed to have been released from the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction.  The total number released does not include women held at MCI-Framingham or men held in other jurisdictions.

The Middlesex Sheriff’s Office is continuing to review additional sentenced individuals for potential EMP placement.  In cases where the MSO does not have the authority to act alone, the Sheriff and staff are working with prosecutors and families to determine whether anyone in MSO custody could have their sentences reviewed by the judiciary.

These efforts build on prior steps taken by the MSO to safely reduce its facility population. A total of 19 individuals were also released when the MSO and Mass Bail Fund worked together to identify individuals held on low cash bails. Another 41 people completed their court-imposed sentences since March 11 and have been released.

The MSO has also maintained contact with its local law enforcement partners throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.  With some police departments issuing summons for nonviolent crimes, and courts delaying trials, new admissions into the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction have declined.

Sheriff Koutoujian also designated Family Resource and Outreach Coordinator Lili Bonilla as a central point of contact for families with questions regarding loved ones currently in custody.  She can assist families with questions regarding the Electronic Monitoring Program (EMP) for sentenced individuals.  She can be reached during regular business hours at 978-932-3517 or by emailing lbonilla@sdm.state.ma.us.  Individuals or families with urgent concerns outside of normal business hours should contact 978-667-1711 ext. 0.

“Ensuring the well-being of all those who live in and work at the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction is of paramount importance to myself and my staff.  By developing specialized processes for release throughout our population, we are keeping both the public safety and public health of our communities at the forefront,” said Sheriff Koutoujian.  “The steps we have taken will benefit both those we release and those who remain with us as we work on ways that this population decline can help us maintain social distancing standards inside the facility. As we have since the beginning of this crisis, we will continue to work with our security staff, our infectious disease specialist, and external as well as internal medical professionals to make the best decisions for the health and safety of our population.”

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April 5, 2020 – 11:40 a.m. (Update #15)
In accordance with Governor Baker’s updated order regarding essential services, the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office will be continuing the temporary suspension of certain services until Monday, May 4, 2020.

All MSO locations – except for the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction – have temporarily suspended operations.  The suspension of operations includes the executive and civil process offices, as well as the counseling center.

Designated essential personnel working at the effected locations – including in payroll and purchasing – will continue to work remotely in order to provide support services.

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April 2, 2020 – 7:30 p.m. (Update #14)
The Middlesex Sheriff’s Office today announced seven employees working at the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction have tested positive for COVID-19.  In addition, one employee who works in a position located outside the facility has also tested positive. 

All those employees who have tested positive will remain off duty until cleared by medical professionals to return to work.

As part of its response measures, the MSO has taken several steps to address situations involving staff including:

  • Telling symptomatic staff to remain at home and contact their primary care physician (PCP).Any symptomatic staff must be cleared by their medical provider and provide documentation to Human Resources before returning to work.
  • While respecting medical privacy, notifying staff members of potential exposures in their working area and told to remain at home. Staff members must be cleared by their medical providers and provide documentation to Human Resources before returning to work.
  • Beginning April 3, we will have thermometers, germicidal cloths and gloves available for staff to conduct self-temperature checks.  Staff will have the ability to check their temperatures on their way in, during the shift and before they return home.

The items listed above are in addition to other previously announced steps including:

  • Enhancing medical screening for new individuals entering the facility beginning on March 4.
  • Suspending in-person visits for family and friends, as well as volunteer services, as of March 13.
  • Offering four free phone calls of up to 20 minutes each for incarcerated individuals every week beginning on March 13. 
  • Requiring staff to wear a protective mask for the duration of their shift.
  • Providing masks to all incarcerated individuals who request one.
  • Vigorously enhanced cleaning of facilities and availability of cleaning products.
  • Encouraging individuals inside the facility to continue to follow CDC recommended steps for preventing the spread of the virus.  This includes frequently washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

There have been no new confirmed cases of COVID-19 involving incarcerated individuals.

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April 1, 2020 – 2:45 p.m. (Update #13)
The Middlesex Sheriff’s Office has implemented a new protocol regarding the wearing of protective masks inside the facility in a continued effort to mitigate the effects of COVID-19.

Effective today, all staff entering the facility are required to wear a protective mask for the duration of their shift.  The masks are designed for multiple usages.

Additionally, the MSO will provide masks to all inmates and detainees who request one through their unit officers.

These steps are in addition to previously announced steps regarding the wearing of personal protective equipment (PPE) by staff.

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April 1, 2020 – 9:33 a.m. (Update #12)
While the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office is continuing to facilitate and process bails for pretrial individuals being held at the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction, we are implementing temporary new protocols designed to enhance health and safety.

Effective today (April 1, 2020), we will be limiting the number of the members of the public able to enter the visitor center and the jail lobby to one adult at a time (should a child be present that child will be able to remain with the adult).  Additional adults will be asked to remain outside the visitor center and will be processed in one person at a time.  While outside, we are asking individuals to please practice proper social distancing.

Please be aware this temporary change is being made for the continued protection of the public, our officers and staff, and all those who are currently being held at the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction.

To learn more about how to post bail at the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction please follow this link.

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March 28, 2020 - 9:45 p.m. (Update #11)
The Middlesex Sheriff’s Office today received the results of a COVID-19 test performed on a sentenced inmate whose roommate tested positive on Friday.  Though the second individual was not displaying any symptoms, he was placed in medical isolation in the Health Services Unit (HSU) and tested as a precaution at the recommendation of an external infectious disease specialist.  Results returned today indicated the individual was also positive.

After receiving the results of the first test yesterday, the MSO announced several additional steps it was implementing based on its pre-established response plan determined by consultation with inside medical staff, outside medical professionals and an external infectious disease specialist.  The new steps included:

  • Limiting movement in-and-out of the unit in which both men previously resided.
  • Providing all individuals residing in the unit with masks.
  • Officers assigned to the unit for the past several days were ordered not to report to work until further notice and asked to speak with their medical provider.
  • Officers currently working in the unit will utilize precautions including the donning of masks and gloves.  Nurses working in the unit will also don gowns in addition to the masks and gloves.

“The steps announced Friday morning were made in consultation with both internal and external medical professionals including Dr. Alysse Wurcel, an infectious diseases specialist at Tufts Medical Center,” said Middlesex Sheriff Peter. J. Koutoujian.  “We have been consulting with Dr. Wurcel and others since the end of February, implementing numerous critical steps in anticipation of COVID-19’s arrival here in the Commonwealth.”

“The MSO contacted me several weeks ago to assist in COVID-19 preparedness.  I have been thoroughly impressed by their commitment to provide the highest quality of healthcare to people who are incarcerated, and provide education and tools to their staff to keep everyone healthy,” said Dr. Wurcel.  “To date, the communities within Middlesex county have been the hardest hit in all of Massachusetts, so it is not surprising that they are the first jail to report cases.  Case identification was facilitated through partnership Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, who stepped up to fill huge gap in testing availability, and provided rapid turn-around COVID-19 testing.  I am in constant communication with the MSO staff as they develop protocols to triage inmates and staff with symptoms.  They have been doing an incredible job, under incredibly demanding circumstances.”

The new steps announced yesterday, supplement previously announced efforts including:

  • Enhancing medical screening for new individuals entering the facility beginning on March 4, and implementing corresponding protocols to respond to cases of concern.
  • Designating our Family Resource and Outreach Coordinator Lili Bonilla as the central point of contact for families.  Lili can be reached at 978-932-3517 or by emailing lbonilla@sdm.state.ma.us.  Individuals or families with urgent concerns outside of normal business hours should contact 978-667-1711 ext. 0.
  • Suspending in-person visits for family and friends, as well as volunteer services, as of March 13.
  • Offering four free phone calls of up to 20 minutes each for incarcerated individuals every week beginning on March 17.  This was an increase from the two free calls per week initially announced four days earlier.
  • Formally transitioning attorney visits from contact to non-contact on March 19, though most attorneys had utilized non-contact visits since March 13.
  • Vigorously enhanced cleaning of facilities and availability of cleaning products.
  • Expanding our use of video and telephone conferences to ensure court dates move forward for already incarcerated individuals.  The MSO has facilitated an average of 30 such conferences over the last eight court days.
  • Working with the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office to support its review process of individuals being held pretrial on bail.
  • Placing a focus on elderly individuals and those with chronic health conditions, as outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  This includes conducting expedited review processes of sentenced individuals for consideration in our electronic monitoring program (EMP).  In cases where the MSO does not have the authority to act, we are attempting to work with prosecutors, families and the defense bar to determine whether anyone in our custody could have their sentences reviewed by the judiciary.
  • As a result of a combination of factors to date – including regularly scheduled releases, our work with the district attorney, the Mass Bail Fund and the continued facilitation of court hearings by video and telephonic means – the incarcerated population at the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction has dropped by almost 10 percent since March 11 (from 787 to 711).

“The efforts undertaken by the members of the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office have been nothing short of outstanding,” said Sheriff Koutoujian.   “During an unprecedented time, they have confronted this challenge head on – focused on ensuring the wellbeing of all those living in and working at the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction.  It is a testament to the professionalism of these dedicated officers, medical professionals and support staff members.”

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March 27, 2020 - 11:45 a.m. (Update #10)
The Middlesex Sheriff’s Office today announced a sentenced individual currently being held at the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction has tested positive for COVID-19.

Results of a test administered by medical staff on Thursday were returned from an outside lab early this morning.

The individual was placed in medical isolation and housed in a single room in the facility’s health services unit (HSU) after developing a fever yesterday.  The individual’s roommate, who has not displayed any symptoms, was also moved to the HSU and placed in medical quarantine as a precaution on Thursday and was tested this morning.  Results of that test are pending.

The Middlesex Sheriff’s Office has now activated its pre-established response plan.  That plan – developed in consultation with inside medical staff, outside medical professionals and an external infectious disease specialist – involves several steps including:

  • Keeping the individual medically isolated in the health services unit (HSU).
  • Limiting movement in-and-out of the unit in which the individual was previously residing to only those presently living in the unit and essential staff.
  • Staff assigned to the unit in the last several days have been notified, told not to report to work until further notice and asked to speak with their medical providers.
  • Officers working in the unit will utilize precautions including the donning of masks and gloves.  Nurses working in the unit will also don gowns in addition to the masks and gloves.
  • All incarcerated individuals in the unit will be provided masks.  They will continue to have access to soap, water and showers.
  • Mental health staff will increase its presence throughout the facility.
  • Peer Support Team members and the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) will be available to staff.

The new steps announced today are in addition to previously announced efforts including:

  • Consulting daily with an outside infectious disease specialist.
  • Enhancing medical screening for new individuals entering the facility and implementing corresponding protocols to respond to cases of concern.
  • Suspending in-person visits for family and friends.
  • Offering four free phone calls of up to 20 minutes each for incarcerated individuals every week.
  • Transitioning attorney visits from contact to non-contact.
  • Expanding its use of video and telephone conferences to ensure court dates move forward for already incarcerated individuals.
  • Designated our Family Resource and Outreach Coordinator Lili Bonilla as the central point of contact for families.  Lili can be reached at 978-932-3517 or by emailing lbonilla@sdm.state.ma.us.  Individuals or families with urgent concerns outside of normal business hours should contact 978-667-1711 ext. 0.

“The health and safety of all those held at, working at and visiting the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction are our top priorities,” said Middlesex Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian.   “Each and every step we have taken to date and will take moving forward are aimed at meeting those priorities.”

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March 23, 2020 – 4:00 p.m. (Update #9)
In accordance with Governor Baker’s essential services order issued today, the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office is implementing several temporary changes.

All MSO locations – except for the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction – will temporarily suspend operations on Tuesday, March 24 at 12 Noon.  The suspension of operations will include the executive and civil process offices, as well as the counseling center (which was previously suspended effective March 17) and will remain in effect until Tuesday, April 7 at 12 Noon.

Designated essential personnel working at the effected locations – including in payroll and purchasing – will work remotely in order to provide support services.

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Thursday, March 19, 2020 – 10:54 a.m. (Update #8)
Please be advised that effective immediately all attorney visits have been transitioned to non-contact.  Upon arrival, staff will be able to direct attorneys to appropriate locations.

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March 18, 2020 - 8:45 p.m. (Update #7)
Beginning on Thursday, March 19 the civil process division will temporarily suspend in-person business at its Medford office. 

Individuals seeking services should call our main telephone at 617-547-1171 for assistance.

To learn more about the civil process division please visit www.middlesexsheriff.org/civil.

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March 18, 2020 - 3:13 p.m. (Update #6)
Effective today, individuals wishing to post bail at the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction are asked to arrive by 6 p.m. Monday - Friday and inform the officer at checkpoint that they are there to post bail.

Weekend bails will continue to beconducted on an on-call basis only.

To learn more about posting bail, please click here.

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March 18, 2020 - 8:00 a.m. (Update #5)
Please be advised our civil process division will re-open for business at 8 a.m. today, however activities at the counseling center in Lowell remain suspended. 

Individuals with questions regarding civil process may contact 617-547-1171.  Those wishing to conduct business at our Medford office are strongly encouraged to contact the office in advance.  

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March 17, 2020 - 4:05 p.m. (Update #4)
Individuals wishing to post bail at the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction may continue to do so utilizing the existing procedures.

To learn more about posting bail, please click here.

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March 17, 2020 - 11:36 a.m. (Update #3)
Please be advised that our civil process office in Medford and our counseling center in Lowell are closed today – Tuesday, March 17, 2020.

Additional updates regarding the resumption of services will be posted here.

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March 17, 2020 – 10:33 a.m. (Update #2)
Middlesex Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian has announced he is expanding the number of free telephone calls individuals at the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction will be offered per week in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Effective today, all incarcerated individuals will be offered four (4) free calls per week with a maximum of 20 minutes per call.  This doubles the number of free calls that was announced this past Friday.

The free calls are being offered in an effort to alleviate the disruption caused by the suspension of in-person visits. 

We are also aggressively exploring additional possible means of communication including video visitation and electronic messaging.

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March 16, 2020 – 11:20 a.m. (Update #1)
In an effort to further streamline the flow of accurate and timely information, the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office has designated a point person to address questions regarding the COVID-19 response from family members of loved ones currently incarcerated at the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction.

Family members seeking information about ongoing Middlesex Sheriff’s Office efforts or with concerns about loved ones may contact:

Lili Bonilla
Family Resource and Outreach Coordinator
E: lbonilla@sdm.state.ma.us
P: 978-932-3517

Individuals with urgent concerns outside of normal business hours should contact 978-667-1711 ext. 0.

Inquiries from members of the media should continue to be directed to Public Information Officer Kevin Maccioli at 781-960-2805 or kmaccioli@sdm.state.ma.us.

The Middlesex Sheriff’s Office will also continue to utilize this website, as well as Twitter and Facebook.

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March 13, 2020 – 5:05 p.m.

As we address the evolving challenges of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), we want to share information regarding the critical steps we are taking to manage the health and safety of all those held at, working in and visiting the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction.

  1. As of 3 p.m. today, all non-attorney visits were suspended pending further notice.  The decision to suspend visits was made based on current information available to the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office.
     
  2. In an effort to alleviate disruptions with visits, starting on Saturday, March 14, 2020 - and lasting until further notice – incarcerated individuals will be offered two (2) free calls per week with a maximum call time of fifteen (15) minutes per calls.  This is a first interim step as we work towards offering more calling opportunities.  We are also aggressively exploring additional possible means of communication including video visitation and electronic messaging.
     
  3. In consultation with internal and external medical professionals, we have expanded the panel of questions we pose to those committed to our custody.  These questions – which have been in place since March 4 – were added to our existing medical intake in an effort to identify individuals who may have symptoms of COVID-19 or who may have come in contact with those with lab confirmed cases.  We have also implemented corresponding protocols should cases of concern arise, including notification and coordination with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
     
  4. We are also strongly encouraging attorneys wishing to meet with clients at the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction to consider utilizing non-contact space.  Staff will be able to direct attorneys to the appropriate locations.
     
  5. We have worked with the courts and other key stakeholders to expand the use of video conferencing for judicial appearances.  This will significantly decrease travel outside the facility for officers and incarcerated individuals.
     
  6. Programming (including religious services) provided by MSO staff and contractors will continue, however volunteer services will be temporarily suspended through March 22.  This pause is intended to ensure that core services remain active while we evaluate future steps.
     
  7. Additionally, we are encouraging individuals inside the facility to continue to follow CDC recommended steps for preventing the spread of the virus.  This includes frequently washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
     
  8. We have also vigorously enhanced our efforts to clean and sanitize all MSO facilities and have increased the availability of necessary protective equipment and sanitizing products.

“As this situation evolves, we remain committed to working closely with our governmental and non-governmental partners to make certain our processes and protocols remain sound,” said Middlesex Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian.  “The health and safety of our employees, incarcerated individuals and visitors is of paramount importance.”

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