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Coronavirus In Minnesota: COVID-19 Spreads Among Staff And Inmates At Minnesota Prisons

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- At least 40 Minnesota Department of Corrections staff members at six different prison facilities have tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19).

The bulk of them are prison staff members at Minnesota Correctional Facility - Moose Lake -- where 30 workers have contracted the illness. The next largest group of sick workers is four people at Minnesota Correctional Facility - Willow River.

The MCF-Moose Lake and MCF-Willow River facilities are adjacent to one another.

The number of infected workers at the prisons is in addition to a significant amount of sick inmates.

At the Moose Lake facility, 33 patients have been confirmed to have the disease, while another 31 are presumed to have it, after 75 completed tests.

The Willow River facility has had 66 inmates tested, with 46 of them testing positive, and another seven presumed to have the virus.

On the other hand, in St. Cloud 85 incarcerated people were tested, and 84 tests returned negative, with one result still pending.

In all, there are at least 117 positive or presumed COVID-19 cases among inmates at Moose Lake and Willow River; as well as one positive case in Lino Lakes.

The Department of Corrections writes:

The DOC is following the Minnesota Department of Health testing guidelines for monitoring, isolation/quarantine, and testing of the people incarcerated in our facilities. However, we are not waiting for positive test results to take appropriate precautions. If an incarcerated person exhibits symptoms consistent with COVID-19, we follow MDH guidance for how our health care and other staff use PPE and interact with those individuals, how to isolate and quarantine them, and how to protect the health of everyone involved.

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