MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO/AP) – The Minnesota Department of Corrections is moving the state’s prisoner intake operations form the St. Cloud prison where the number of COVID-19 cases have spiked.
The intake function will move to the Lino Lakes Correctional Facility, north of the metro area. They will remain there “for the foreseeable future” to allow the St. Cloud facility to stabilize its number of cases, Corrections Commissioner Paul Schnell said.
Currently, St. Cloud prison has a population of 584 people; 20% of whom have tested positive for the virus. As of Tuesday, 122 people had been diagnosed with COVID-19, a big jump from just two cases in late June. According to the Department of Corrections, 3,576 tests have been administered in St. Cloud, the majority of which have come back negative. Five tests are still pending.
Until this week, all incarcerated men initially went to the St. Cloud prison where they were quarantined for 14 days. Once they were sent to another prison they were quarantined again for another two weeks.
The same 14-day quarantine process for new arrivals will be used at Lino Lake, officials said.
Schnell compared the spike at the St. Cloud facility to an outbreak at the Faribault prison, where the number of positive cases broke 200 earlier this month, then leveled off, Minnesota Public Radio News reported. Two inmates died in that facility in late June after testing positive for COVID-19.
The design of older prisons like St. Cloud, which has bars on cells instead of solid doors, can make it easier for the virus to spread, Schnell said.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
Source: CBS Minnesota