MIDDLETON – The Essex County Sheriff's Department announced that there has been an uptick in coronavirus cases at the Middleton House of Corrections.

On Saturday, 25 inmates tested positive. That's in addition to 21 employees and two contractors who have also tested positive for COVID-19.

“Like with so many other areas across the state, we are seeing a surge in this highly-contagious illness and this is despite having the most rigorous of health and safety protocols in place,” Sheriff Kevin Coppinger said in a statement released Saturday.

“We continue to work around the clock to fight back against this virus and to ensure the health and safety of all who live and work at our Middleton facility.”

According to the statement, each case reported at the facility has been mild and no one has needed hospitalization.

In addition, no cases have been reported at the department's other facilities, the Essex Pre-Release Center in Lawrence and the Women in Transition Program in Salisbury.

Officials have closed the Middleton facility to the general public following the outbreak and "movement within the facility has been minimized to mitigate the risk of further transmission."

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