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K9 and correctional officers test positive for COVID-19

A correctional officer and a K9 officer from the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office have tested positive for COVID-19.

“Both are feeling well,” Bristol County Sheriff Thomas M. Hodgson said. “They have some minor symptoms but both said, overall, that they’re feeling okay. That’s very encouraging.”

The correctional officer’s last shift was March 31. He didn’t feel well in the days following, received a COVID-19 test, and informed the BCSO of the positive result this week. He will be out of work until tests are negative and he is cleared by a doctor.

He works in a specialized housing unit inside the men’s facility. His unit was empty on his last day and had one inmate in the days prior. The inmate has shown no symptoms of Coronavirus.

The K9 officer didn’t feel well in the days after his last shift on March 28, received a test and notified the BCSO of the positive result this week. He has no inmate contact and extremely limited contact with staff and the community as his primary responsibility on third shift is securing the outside perimeter of the Dartmouth correctional complex.

His K9 partner is showing no symptoms. Although the CDC has not received any reports of pets/companion animals becoming sick in the United States, the K9 officer is taking extra precautions and following CDC guidelines by limiting contact with his four-legged partner.

These security staffers are the second and third staff members of the BCSO to have tested positive for COVID-19. A nurse from Correctional Psychiatric Services, the BCSO’s contracted medical vendor, previously tested positive for the virus, has recovered, and is cleared to return to work this week.

Over the past month, the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office has instituted many protocols to protect inmates, detainees and staff from the Coronavirus outbreak. Some of those measures include:

-All employees were given masks that must be worn inside the secure perimeter of our facilities. Inmates and detainees will also be given masks; we anticipate our orders to be fulfilled by the end of the week. -All areas of the facility are being cleaned\disinfected every day on every shift.
-All staff members are being screened before entering the buildings; new arriving inmates are being screened before being accepted into custody.
-In-person visitation has been suspended to limit the number of people coming in and out.

“I couldn’t be more proud of our staff. Everyone on our team has been extremely self-disciplined about the protocols and procedures in place to prevent the spread of this disease. Their dedication and commitment to our professional standards and operational disciplines is testament to the 100% score they earned on our last two national accreditations audits,” Sheriff Hodgson said. “The inmates, as well, have been very focused on hygiene and doing their part to flatten the curve. We’re all in this together.”

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