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10th Minnesota prison inmate dies after COVID-19 diagnosis

Three other inmates who contracted the virus are hospitalized in critical condition.

A tenth inmate in Minnesota's prison system has died after testing positive for COVID-19. 

The 57-year-old man died Friday, with the Department of Corrections saying the man died at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis after recently being diagnosed with COVID-19 at the prison in Faribault. 

The man's identity has not been released. 

"On behalf of the Department of Corrections, I extend our deepest condolences to the family of this man,” said Commissioner Paul Schnell, in a statement. “This man’s death is yet another reminder that even as we begin vaccine distribution in our state, we must maintain vigilance to prevent further spread of COVID-related disease. Our agency will continue our efforts to prevent spread in our facilities."

Three other inmates of Minnesota's prison system are currently hospitalized and in critical condition with COVD-related illness, the DOC says. 

According to the DOC's COVID-19 dashboard, which was most recently updated on Jan. 7, there were 413 active cases of COVID-19 among inmates around the state while 3,365 inmates who tested positive have recovered. Here's how many incarcerated individuals have tested positive since the March.

  • Faribault: 1,102 cases
  • Lino Lakes: 351
  • Moose Lake: 189
  • Oak Park Heights: 98
  • Rush City: 214
  • St. Cloud: 747
  • Shakopee: 17
  • Stillwater: 975
  • Togo (Cook, MN): 8
  • Willow River: 83

A further 963 Department of Corrections employees have tested positive for COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic. 

The DOC is vaccinating eligible healthcare staff and inmates who are most vulnerable to the disease who are in long-term care facilities, as is defined by state and federal health officials. 

The measures the DOC has taken to help limit the spread of COVID-19 in its prisons includes testing all inmates and staff, requiring masks, implementing a "stay with unit" plan so inmates only spend time with those in their living units, and installing handwashing stations. 

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