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Inmates get chickenpox

By Scott J. Croteau TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF
[email protected]

WEST BOYLSTON- No inmates will be sent to any of the 11 courthouses in Worcester County today or tomorrow because chickenpox has hit the Worcester County Jail and House of Correction.

Two inmates were found to have chickenpox Tuesday evening, Deputy Superintendent Jeffrey R. Turco said. Another 71 inmates, along with six jail staff, were then found to be susceptible to contracting the disease most common in children 12 and younger. The two inmates with chickenpox are 23 and 39.

"We're not going to send anyone to court" today and Friday, Deputy Turco said.

Some inmates were sent from the jail to courthouses yesterday morning, but were sent back. Inmates were then kept at the facility. Deputy Turco began discussions with Superior Court Judge John S. McCann yesterday and an agreement was reached not to send any inmates to the Worcester County courthouses.

"It was the fact that there was an exposure not only to the staff, but to the public," Judge McCann said yesterday. "We just opted not to bring them in at all."

District Court Judge Paul F. LoConto was consulted in the decision and agreed the best scenario was not to have the inmates come into the county courthouses.

With hundreds of people in the courthouses daily - staff, the public, police and lawyers - the judges believed it was best not to have anyone possibly exposed to the disease. Judge McCann said he found out about the chickenpox being at the jail around 9:15 a.m. yesterday.

The district courts will be affected the most along with some bail hearings, the judge said. Female inmates will still come to the courthouses along with those coming from other state facilities.

Deputy Turco said some inmates at his facility go to courthouses outside Worcester County. Jail officials were busy contacting those courts to tell them about the chickenpox. The two inmates with chickenpox and the 71 inmates deemed susceptible to getting the disease will not go to any courts. If the courthouses outside Worcester County want an inmate to appear today or tomorrow, the jail will send them as long as they are not the two with the disease or among the group of 71. The jail has a population of 1,267 inmates.

"It's a couple of days," Deputy Turco said. "It's a temporary inconvenience."

Staff and inmates were asked a series of questions to identify who among them could get the disease. Once those staff members and inmates were identified, they were all offered the vaccine. All of the inmates in the susceptible category, the two with chickenpox and the six staff workers - out of 700 plus employees - are being offered the vaccine, which is being supplied by the state Department of Public Health, Deputy Turco said. The jail cannot mandate that people take the vaccine, but the majority is accepting it, he said. The state DPH told the jail it was not necessary to limit all inmates from going to court.

Deputy Turco said medical staff immediately contacted the state DPH upon determining that the two inmates had contracted the disease.

The two inmates were separated from the general population and are still receiving their normal services. Those with chickenpox have flulike symptoms and a rash or blister-type sores appear on the body.

Inmates and staff were asked if they were born after Dec. 31, 1979; if they were born in the United States; and if they ever had chickenpox or were vaccinated for it. Those questions helped determine who was susceptible to getting the disease.

The state has sent some vaccines to the jail already and the vaccines will be administered during the next couple of days.

http://www.telegram.com/article/20080821/NEWS/808210817/1116
 

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Maddy B's grammy
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2,017 Posts
I heard they also had a pretty bad outbreak of MRSA not to long ago. eeewwww
 
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