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Inmate positive with COVID-19 dies amid major outbreak at Stillwater prison

Almost two-thirds of inmates at the prison have tested positive for the virus since the pandemic started.
Stillwater MCF

A man being held at MCF-Stillwater has died almost two weeks after testing positive for COVID-19.

The 61-year-old, whose identity has not yet been released, tested positive on Oct. 20, and was taken to an area hospital on Saturday, where the Minnesota Department of Corrections say he was evaluated and discharged.

Just after 11 a.m. Sunday, the man died at the prison.

It's the third COVID-19-related death of an inmate at Minnesota's state correctional facilities since the pandemic began.

Furthermore, the DOC has revealed the extent of the virus' spread in the facility, saying that there are currently 1,278 men being held at the prison, of which 750 have tested positive for COVID-19, with "the majority experiencing no symptoms."

More than 150 staff at Stillwater have tested positive for the virus too.

The prison didn't have its first case of COVID-19 since late September, which means more than 900 cases of the virus have been confirmed since then among inmates and staff.

The DOC says "speed of COVID case spread at Stillwater is uncharacteristic of the experiences to date at other facilities that have experienced outbreaks."

"We continue to investigate whether facility age, design, and infrastructure may influence the spread of COVID-19 and other viral infections, such as the flu," a DOC press release said.

“We extend our deepest condolences to the loved ones 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."

The DOC has been meeting with the Department of Health to discuss mitigation strategies, have put the facility on lockdown, doubled the flow of outside air into its heating system, and performed regular COVID-19 testing on staff and inmates who have not tested positive.

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