Local officials say COVID-19 outbreaks at jails, colleges unfairly penalize small businesses

A cluster of over 130 cases at the Middleton jail and 93 cases in North Andover connected to Merrimack College have moved the towns into the red and halted reopening plans.

Local officials say COVID-19 outbreaks at jails, colleges unfairly penalize small businesses

Leaders in Middleton and North Andover are asking Gov. Charlie Baker to stop including coronavirus cases at jails and colleges in community-wide case numbers due to it negatively impacting their statewide risk designation and preventing small businesses from entering the next step of reopening.

An outbreak at Middleton jail has infected more than 130 inmates and 31 staffers, but beyond the House of Correction, there is just one coronavirus case in town.

Middleton leaders told the Boston Herald that the outbreak at the jail has landed the town in the so-called “red zone” for coronavirus risk, and is preventing small businesses from entering Step 2 of Phase 3 of reopening.

Content Continues Below

Meanwhile, in North Andover, a coronavirus outbreak at Merrimack College has also forced the city into the high-risk category. Last week, Melissa Rodrigues, North Andover’s town manager, said 93 cases at Merrimack College single-handedly kicked North Andover up into the red on the state’s map.

The Herald reports leaders in both municipalities are urging Baker and state health leaders to stop including coronavirus clusters at jails and colleges in town-wide COVID-19 numbers.

The Herald asked Baker if he would consider making this change, but a spokesman would not answer the question.

Boston 25 News also reached out to the governor’s office for comment but has not yet heard back.


Related:


Download the free Boston 25 News app for up-to-the-minute push alerts

RESOURCES:

- Follow us on Facebook and Twitter | Watch Boston 25 NOW