The Massachusetts Department of Correction has confirmed its first case of an inmate testing positive for the COVID-19 virus.

The patient is a male inmate serving a life sentence at the Massachusetts Treatment Center in Bridgewater. The department said Saturday the inmate and his cellmate have been quarantined from the general population since Thursday.

The center is a medium-security facility for sex offenders or sexually dangerous persons.

Concerns about coronavirus spreading in prisons has spurred a heated discussion among district attorneys, sheriffs and civil rights activists about the best way to protect inmates who are in close contact with each other and often have underlying medical issues or impaired immune systems.