After a COVID-19 outbreak at the Middleton Jail and House of Correction last month that infected at least 137 inmates, only 15 now have active cases, the Essex County sheriff’s office said Thursday.
The jail experienced a sudden jump in infections around Sept. 22 that led to the testing early this month of every inmate, staff member, and vendor, according to a statement from the office of Sheriff Kevin Coppinger.
At that time, 137 inmates tested positive, Coppinger’s office said Thursday. Nearly three-quarters of the infected inmates had no symptoms, and those who became ill experienced only mild symptoms, according to the statement. No inmates were hospitalized.
“We used testing as an investigatory tool to identify positive cases and isolate those carriers of the virus,” Coppinger said in the statement. “Once we identified the positive cases, our healthcare provider WellPath monitored each person daily, provided care and comfort, and made the determination of who was medically recovered according to strict state and federal guidelines.”
Since they were tested Oct. 3 to 5, 122 inmates have been medically cleared for the coronavirus, meaning at least 10 days have passed since their diagnosis, and they have not experienced a fever or other symptoms in the past 24 hours, according to the statement.
Middleton remained in the high-risk category for COVID-19 in weekly community data released by state public health officials Wednesday. The town had 152 cases reported in the previous two weeks — including the 137 cases reported at the jail — which gave Middleton an average daily count of 105.2 cases per 100,000 residents.
The town’s Public Health Department said last week that 105 residents outside of correctional facilities had been infected. Of the residents infected, 98 had recovered, six had died, and one was still an active case, the town said.