FRAMINGHAM – The Massachusetts Department of Corrections reported that one employee and one medical provider, who work at MCI-Framingham, have self-reported a positive case of COVID-19.
The spokesperson for the Mass Department of Corrections said no inmates at MCI-Framingham have tested positive for the coronavirus, as of 4 p.m. today, April 2.
The Massachusetts Department of Correction (MADOC) temporarily suspended all general visits at all of its facilities effective March 12, 2020.
This temporary suspension includes outside volunteers and other tours and groups who routinely come into the prisons.
The State will regularly re-evaluate the temporary suspension of visits as the MADOC remains committed to ensuring that family and friends are able to visit with loved ones.
As of March 14, the state began offering 2 free phone calls per week to each and every inmate; each call has also been increased to 30 minutes in duration. Additionally, the DOC has reinstated phone privileges to those inmates serving a loss of phone sanction.
Attorney visits have not been suspended Department-wide, though restrictions at specific facilities may be necessary to protect the health and safety of staff and inmates. All attorneys are subject to the same screening process as facility staff. The Massachusetts Treatment Center is currently restricting attorney visits, due to confirmed cases of COVID-19 within the facility.
The Department said it has adequate supplies of food and sanitation items and is monitoring supply levels continually.
All inmates and staff have access to soap and water.
The MADOC provides soap and other hygiene items to inmates.
In the event an inmate runs out of these items, they will be provided more. Cleaning and disinfectant supplies are also readily available for inmates and staff.
Alcohol-free hand sanitizer pump stations are installed throughout all facilities across the agency. Center for Disease Control (CDC) posters detailing proper hygiene practices have been posted in the prisons.
The MADOC is in the process of distributing Isopropanol-based hand sanitizer that meets CDC guidelines that will be available for staff and inmates.
Medical providers at MADOC facilities meet with inmates who present with symptoms consistent with a viral illness. As with any patient, if an inmate has symptoms and meets the criteria for testing then DPH would determine whether to have him or her tested.
All medical co-pays will be waived for any inmate being tested for COVID-19 or any other medical issue until further notice.
Additional cleaning and disinfecting protocols were implemented at each institution to include continuous disinfecting in high touch areas in accordance with CDC guidelines. Cleaning and disinfectant supplies are also readily available for inmates and staff. Alcohol-free hand sanitizer pump stations are installed throughout all facilities across the agency. All inmates and staff have access to soap and water.
The MADOC has distributed Isopropanol-based hand sanitizer that meets CDC guidelines that will be available for staff and inmates.
Education is being provided to staff and inmates to prevent the spread of infectious disease, including COVID-19. Facilities will restrict anyone who shows signs or symptoms of a respiratory infection including a cough, fever, sore throat, and/or shortness of breath, reside in a community where community-based spread of COVID-19 is occurring, have traveled internationally within the prior 14 days to countries with sustained community transmission, and/or have had contact with an individual with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 or, under investigation for COVID-19.
In the event staff meet the above criteria, their supervisor shall advise the employee not to return to work until contacting DPH and/or their primary care physician in order to be cleared for return to work.
The employee must have a document from a qualified medical provider, the CDC, or DPH stating that they are cleared from COVID-19 before returning to work.
Additionally, cleaning and disinfecting protocols were implemented at each institution to include continuous disinfecting in high touch areas in accordance with CDC guidelines.
Screening areas are currently being erected near the entrances of DOC facilities where anyone entering the prison is having their body temperatures measured for signs of fever.