Sheriff Hodgson: COVID-19 Nearly Eradicated at Bristol County Jail
The Office of Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson announced Friday that COVID-19 cases are now "almost nonexistent" at county correctional facilities under his authority.
Since June 19, only one corrections officer and one inmate have tested positive for COVID-19, and that staffer has recovered and returned to duty, the office said. The inmate was said to be monitored by health professionals in medical isolation and "expected to make a full recovery and move back to general population in the weeks ahead."
Including the most recent case, 48 inmates have tested positive for COVID-19 since the pandemic began. Forty-seven have recovered and returned to the general jail population or been released with concluded sentences, the sheriff's office said.
A total of 43 Bristol County Sheriff's Office staffers have tested positive, including the most recent case, meaning 91 inmates and staffers have had the virus in recent weeks.
No staff members are currently away from the facility as 42 have recovered and returned to duty. One, a health care professional from Correctional Psychiatric Services, left the BCSO to take a different position at a health care facility in Dartmouth, the sheriff's office said.
“The staff here has done an amazing job in the battle against COVID-19,” Hodgson said in a statement. “We’ve flattened the curve in our facilities, but we’re not out of the woods yet. The virus is still out there, and we will continue to be vigilant and careful in our day-to-day operations.”
The sheriff's office said it has instituted many protocols to protect inmates, detainees and staff: The facilities are disinfected every day, staff members are screened before entering the buildings, new arriving inmates are screened for symptoms, and in-person visitation has been suspended.
The Bristol County Sheriff's Office, in addition to running the House of Correction, operates an immigrant detention center in a contractual relationship with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. On May 7, the sheriff's office was ordered by a federal judge to perform full COVID-19 testing at that facility, where COVID testing had not previously taken place. Prisoner density at the ICE lockup was also drastically reduced with Judge William Young ordering dozens of detainees released to house arrest with bail conditions.
That preliminary injunction came days after an altercation at the ICE lockup where detainees allegedly fought with staff and vandalized the facility because they did not want coronavirus testing, according to Hodgson.