Courts Only Hearing Emergency Matters; Individual in Custody With Middlesex Sheriff Tests Positive For COVID-19

By Sabetha LaFontant/SOURCE intern

MEDFORD – The Middlesex Sheriff’s Office announced today, March 27 an individual in custody at the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction has tested
positive for COVID-19.

The individual was isolated in a single room upon the positive test result after developing a fever yesterday. The individual’s roommate who appears asymptomatic, has been moved into a medical quarantine and tested for COVID-19 as well, his medical status is still awaiting results.

The Middlesex Sheriff’s Office response plan entails keeping the individual isolated in the health services and prohibiting employees assigned to the unit within the last several days from working until further notice.

The Office has currently suspended all in-person visits for family and friends, in addition to transitioning all attorney visits from contact to non-contact. In effort so providing a safe alternative from in person visits, the facility is offering four free phone calls of up to 20 minutes each for incarcerated individuals every week.

For safety measures all current officers working in the facility will wear masks and gloves.

Nurses working in the unit will add gowns to their safety protocol addition to the masks and gloves and all of those incarcerated in the unit will be provided masks.

“In regards to public court hearings, the courts are currently only handling emergency matters for the time being,” said a spokesperson for the Sheriff’s office.

“They are continuing to process cases for individuals already within custody that have hearings,” said the Sheriff’s spokesperson Kevin Maccioli.

The Middlesex Sheriff’s Office has also shifted to expanding its use of video and telephone conferences to ensure court dates move forward for already incarcerated individuals.

The new steps announced today, March 27, includes: infectious disease specialist consultations, medical screening for new individuals entering the facility, and a mental health staff increase, said the spokesperson.

“We have been working with the district attorneys’ office in attempt to help them facilitate their process. They have been working to conduct assessments for those being held on bail and reviewing them to see if they are individuals that qualify for a bail review,” said the Sheriff’s spokesperson Maccioli

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