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More Than Dozen COVID Cases Among Incarcerated At Berkshire Jail, But None In Hampden, Franklin

The entrance to the Franklin County Sheriff's Office in Greenfield, Massachusetts.
Jeff Brown
Masslive / masslive.com/photos
The entrance to the Franklin County Sheriff's Office in Greenfield, Massachusetts.

In Berkshire County, at least 13 incarcerated people have tested positive for COVID-19 since late last month.

Six staff members have also tested positive. About half of those who tested positive for COVID in Berkshire County correctional facilities are vaccinated, according to the sheriff's office.

Other county jails in western Massachusetts currently have few cases or none at all.

In Hampden County, one correctional employee recently tested positive for COVID. But there are no current cases among the people incarcerated there. That's also true in Franklin County.

Sheriff Christopher Donelan said 80% of the incarcerated are vaccinated and 85% of staff. All staff are required to wear masks, and Donelan said they're also encouraged to be careful outside of work.

"To not engage in risky behavior, to follow protocols for social distancing and mask-wearing," he said. "And our officers are very good about that."

Donelan said Franklin County has about about 100 fewer people incarcerated than before the pandemic, which means there's more space to spread out.

In Berkshire County, the sheriff's office said 85% of the staff are vaccinated along with 60 to 65% of those who are incarcerated.

in Hampden County, 74% of staff and 52% of the men and women who are incarcerated are vaccinated, according to the sheriff.

Nancy Eve Cohen is a senior reporter focusing on Berkshire County. Earlier in her career she was NPR’s Midwest editor in Washington, D.C., managing editor of the Northeast Environmental Hub and recorded sound for TV networks on global assignments, including the war in Sarajevo and an interview with Fidel Castro.
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