scorecardresearch Skip to main content

Massachusetts jail deals with new COVID-19 outbreak

Essex County Sheriff Kevin Coppinger at the Middleton Jail.Mary Schwalm

A Massachusetts jail is dealing with an outbreak of new COVID-19 cases among inmates and staff.

Nearly 60 inmates and eight employees at the Middleton Jail have tested positive in two days, a spokesperson for the Essex County Sheriff's Department told The Salem News on Wednesday.

Inmates who test negative will still be brought to court, spokesperson Gretchen Grosky said.

Just three of the eight employees who tested positive reported being vaccinated, Grosky said. Among detainees, 58% who tested positive reported being vaccinated or had received vaccinations in custody, she said.

The majority of people who tested positive are asymptomatic, and the others have experienced mild symptoms, she said.


About 60% of the jail’s 700 employees have reported being vaccinated. The jail as an independent entity is not subject to state vaccination mandates, she said, but “we expect to launch mandatory weekly testing for unvaccinated employees very soon.”

The most recent report provided to a special master overseeing the state correctional system’s response to the pandemic show that there are slightly more than 1,000 people in custody in Essex County.