The Two Bridges Regional Jail will now offer COVID-19 vaccines to inmates and staff.
That comes as a COVID-19 outbreak at the Wiscasset facility has infected nearly 41 people, according to The Times Record. That includes 35 inmates and six jail staff.
Until now, the Two Bridges facility was the only jail in Maine that had not offered vaccines to its inmates. Low supply and availability of vaccines was cited as the reason that the jail had not been able to offer the vaccines.
Correctional Administrator James Bailey told The Times Record that the facility received 45 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine on Tuesday.
According to Bailey, the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine is the most viable option to offer to inmates, because many people do not stay in the facility long enough to receive both doses of either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine.
“First we’ll get vaccines to people who we know are negative, then later give them to people who have tested positive,” Bailey told the Brunswick newspaper.
Bailey did not know whether any inmates were vaccinated prior to their incarceration, but said that about 50 percent of employees have been.
The facility began universal testing in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, and programming and nonessential activities were suspended.
All inmates who have tested positive are in isolation, and areas of the jail where the coronavirus is thought to have originated from are under quarantine.
Bailey told The Times Record that this is the first time that the facility has recorded more than two active coronavirus cases at a time, and he believes the virus was introduced to the facility by a staffer or a contractor.
Correction: A previous version of this story misidentified Two Bridges Regional Jail.