MILFORD (CBS) – The Massachusetts Department of Corrections has locked down prisons to increase social distancing and prevent the spread of coronavirus, it announced Saturday after an inmate died from COVID-19.
“DOC was informed this morning that an inmate from the Massachusetts Treatment Center who was being treated for COVID-19 at a hospital died earlier today. The health of incarcerated individuals, staff, visitors and volunteers is of utmost importance to the department as we continue to expand health and safety measures at all facilities, including strictly limited movement within each facility, providing alcohol-based hand sanitizer and frequently disinfecting high-touch areas,” said a prepared statement from the DOC.
The inmate, who has not been identified, was in his 60s and had underlying health conditions. He was quarantined after showing signs of having coronavirus. He was transferred to a hospital for medical treatment and tested positive for COVID-19. His next of kin has been notified.
According to the DOC, it is limiting movement in all facilities and asking all staff to wear personal protective equipment if they will be within 6 feet of another person or in an area with inmates who have tested positive for coronavirus.
All visitors to prisons will have their temperatures taken and will be observed for symptoms of illness in screening areas.
Inmates will receive meals in their units, the DOC said, and will be able to shower, clean their rooms and use the phone. Inmates will also receive other required services, such as attorney visits, laundry and mail. However, prisoners movements will be restricted.
Increased cleaning and sanitizing measures are already in place at facilities, and hand sanitizer is available to all inmates and staff.
This comes after the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled Friday that suspects being held in jail pending trial for non-violent crimes be released on personal recognizance bail to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.