MCF-Faribault

The Minnesota Correctional Facility in Faribault. (Daily News file photo)

The Minnesota Department of Corrections announced Friday that 56 inmates at its Faribault prison tested positive for COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours.

The announcement follows last week’s first confirmed case at Minnesota Correctional Facility-Faribault.

That information, shared on the DOC’s Facebook page, explained that the positive cases were among 78 tests done in the days prior. Another 15 tests were still pending as of Friday.

According to the post, “the positive cases are among individuals who all live in the same living unit. The total MCF-Faribault population Friday was 1,843 individuals.”

All individuals who test positive are isolated following Department of Health protocols, it said.

Three other MCF-Faribault inmates and one staff member have also tested positive for the novel coronavirus, according to Friday’s Minnesota Department of Health report. Another two staffers are presumed positive. Of the three staff cases, two have reportedly returned to work.

With the positive cases at MCF-Faribault, 184 inmates in DOC facilities have tested positive for COVID-19. Almost 3,900 have been tested. The only DOC facility with a higher number of cases among those incarcerated is the minimum-security boot camp in Willow River, in Pine County, with 73. Nearby MCF-Moose Lake has 35 staff with confirmed cases of COVID-19.

The tests are part of a plan to test all inmates for COVID-19. Plans are underway for comprehensive testing of facility staff as well.

The Faribault facility is the largest in the statewide system, and houses only men in its medium- and minimum-security units.

While already operating on a modified schedule and adhering to a Stay with Unit plan, MCF-Faribault has limited its schedule further to contain the virus’ spread. Here is some information about the limited schedule:

• Canteen will begin unit delivery on Monday.

• Meals will be delivered in living units.

• Yards are currently closed.

• Flag and patio time will continue though with smaller groups at any given time.

• Programming is postponed.

• Phones will continue though with more limited schedules. Additionally, video visiting will remain available but only during flag time as assigned.

On Monday, Rice County had 587 residents who have tested positive for coronavirus. That figures includes three deaths. Steele County had 173 cases with no COVID-19 deaths.

Reach Regional Managing Editor Suzanne Rook at 507-333-3134. Follow her on Twitter @rooksuzy. ©Copyright 2020 APG Media of Southern Minnesota. All rights reserved.

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