Four prisoners die of COVID-19 during holiday week
Deaths come as vaccinations set to begin
FOUR PRISONERS at Massachusetts penal institutions succumbed to COVID-19 during the past week, bringing the total number of deaths under the jurisdiction of the Department of Correction to 15 for the duration of the pandemic.
The most recent death came Monday morning when a prisoner in his 70s died of complications from the virus at NCCI-Gardner. He had been receiving treatment at an outside hospital for several days and died there. Another prisoner in his early 70s died from coronavirus complications on New Year’s Day at an area hospital following incarceration at MCI-Concord.
A third prisoner died on December 31 after being transferred to an outside hospital from MCI-Norfolk in late November with COVID-19 complications. The fourth inmate to die was a NCCI-Gardner prisoner who was in his late 60s on December 28. This is the greatest number of prisoners to die of the virus in a week.
There are currently 90 prisoners with coronavirus at NCCI-Gardner, which has seen multiple waves of the virus. The Department of Correction said there are 60 more at Old Colony Correctional Center, 21 at MCI-Shirley Medium, 15 at MCI-Cedar Junction, 12 at the Massachusetts Treatment Center, 11 at MCI-Norfolk, six each at the Shirley Minimum and Bridgewater State Hospital, and one each at the Boston Pre-release Correctional Center, MCI-Framingham, Pondville Correctional Center, South Middlesex Correctional Center, and Northeastern Correctional Center.
The Baker administration intends to vaccinate prisoners during Phase 1 of the vaccination process, set to end in February. The Department of Correction and COVID-19 Command Center continue to have no information on when or how over 13,000 state and county prisoners will be vaccinated.