Outbreak continues at county jail with 25 more cases

May 21, 2020

Ten Bristol County Sheriff's Office staff members and 15 county inmates have tested positive for Covid-19 in the past nine days, according to a May 21 press release from the Sheriff’s Office.

This brings the total number of coronavirus cases at the Faunce Corner Road correctional facility to 52, with a total of 24 county inmates and 28 staffers testing positive since the start of the pandemic.

Earlier this month, the facility saw the start of an outbreak as the number of cases more than doubled. 

According to the Sheriff’s Office, twenty inmates remain in single cells where they are being monitored by medical professionals. Sheriff’s Office spokesman Jonathan Darling said that more single cells are available should more inmates test positive.

Four inmates who had completed their sentences have been released. Before their release, the statement noted, the Sheriff’s Office provided notification of the positive test to the person picking them up and the state Department of Public Health, which in turn notifies the communities to which they return.

Of the ten staff members to test positive since May 12, seven are security officers, including four corrections officers, one lieutenant, one sergeant and one captain. The other staff members are a teacher, a communications dispatcher and a classification counselor. All are expected to return to duty in the coming weeks, the press release stated.

Ten of the 28 staff members to test positive have recovered and have already returned to work at the facility.

According to the press release, since May 12 the Sheriff’s Office has completed Covid testing for immigrations detainees, as recently ordered by a federal judge in Boston. Eight detainees refused the test, the release stated. They are being housed in single cells and being monitored by health care professionals. All are asymptomatic. The 65 other ICE detainees in Bristol County have tested negative.

Darling said that as far as he is aware, none of the cases have required hospitalization. If any inmates do need to be hospitalized, he noted, regular protocols will be used to ensure security while they are outside the facility.

He added that while safety is a top priority and the facility still has enough staff working to cover all shifts, the pandemic has created a “tough situation” for everybody. 

“When you’ve got essential workers, not everybody can sit on Zoom meetings. They have to come in five days a week,” he said.

Sheriff Thomas Hodgson commented, "The Covid pandemic has hit Bristol County, Massachusetts, and our nation pretty hard. In the middle of this epidemic, our essential staff of more than 600 people is doing an amazing job in these challenging times."