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COVID-positive inmate at Oak Park Heights prison dies

He becomes the fourth prison inmate to die from the virus.

An inmate at MCF-Oak Park Heights has died at a hospital after being diagnosed with COVID-19.

The 73-year-old inmate at Oak Park Heights – Minnesota's only maximum security facility – died Sunday at the University of Minnesota Medical Center.

The Minnesota Department of Corrections says he's the fourth inmate in its system to have died after contracting the virus. Two other inmates are currently on ventilators.

The man has not been identified, but the DOC said he recently tested positive for COVID-19 while receiving care for terminal cancer. It's not known how he contracted the virus.

“We extend our deepest condolences to the loved ones and friends of this man,” said Minnesota Department of Corrections (DOC) Commissioner Paul Schnell. “Since the beginning of this pandemic we’ve worked to take all reasonable steps to minimize the introduction and spread of COVID-19 in the state’s correctional facilities for the well-being of those we serve and our staff.

"Just like in our communities, this is a very difficult time for those incarcerated in our facilities, and for our staff who are working to keep them safe.”

Oak Park Heights has been relatively unscathed when it comes to COVID-19. It currently has only 2 active cases among inmates, although 20 staff have the virus.

By comparison, as of Nov. 13, there were 335 positive cases at MCF-St. Cloud, 177 at MCF-Rush City, and 109 at MCF-Stillwater.

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