A 70-year-old man incarcerated at MCF-Faribault died at District One Hospital in Faribault early Saturday morning. He had recently been diagnosed with COVID-19.
This is the ninth COVID-related death of an incarcerated person in the Minnesota DOC system since the pandemic began. It is the fifth death from MCF-Faribault. Faribault currently has 272 COVID-positive incarcerated people, and 43 COVID-positive staff. There are 1,763 people currently incarcerated at MCF-Faribault.
Rice County on Monday had 5,229 total cases of COVID. That number includes 1,011 MCF-Faribault inmates. Forty-seven county residents have died from COVID-related complications. Steele County has 2,424 total cases of the virus with nine deaths reported.
The identity of the man is being withheld pending full notification of next of kin.
“This man’s death is another sad reminder of the risks and challenges of preventing and managing virus infection and spread in a correctional setting,” said Commissioner Paul Schnell. “Even as we see the release of new vaccines, we cannot let down our guard. We extend our deepest condolences to the loved ones of this man, and we remain committed to doing all we can to prevent the spread of COVID in our facilities,” Schnell added.
Minnesota has the fourth lowest incarceration rate in the nation, yet, based on available data, is fourth highest in the number of COVID tests performed to date (80,000), including large states like California and Texas.
Officials are currently working with the Minnesota Department of Health to finalize a plan for vaccination of incarcerated population and employees. The vaccine will be provided in phases as outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and the Minnesota Department of Health. The complete distribution plan is currently being finalized.
The DOC has conducted comprehensive testing of all incarcerated people and staff in our facilities, and has taken measures across the system to manage the risk of COVID-19 entering facilities and spreading, including: implementing “Stay with Unit” plans, enacting mandatory barrier mask policies, and installing hand washing stations. Each facility has also taken a number of steps specific to their unique environment. Those plans can be viewed here: Facility Specific COVID-19 Responses / Department of Corrections (mn.gov). MCF-Faribault-specific plans can be viewed here: MCF-Faribault COVID-19 Response / Department of Corrections (mn.gov).