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The federal women's prison in Waseca accounts for nearly half of all active COVID-19 cases in the federal prison system. 

Of the 756 inmates in the Waseca prison, 132 of them have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons' COVID update on Wednesday (it's updated daily at 3 p.m.). 

That's seven more cases than were reported Tuesday, the Mankato Free Press says.

The prison accounts for just over 47% of all active COVID-19 cases among federal prison facilities nationwide. A total of 278 inmates in the federal system had COVID as of Wednesday. 

Meanwhile, 229 Bureau of Prisons staff members has COVID. One staff member in Waseca has COVID. 

Waseca's case numbers are significantly higher than any other prison in the system. The next highest is Pollock in Louisiana, with 28 COVID-positive inmates and two COVID-positive staff, data show.

According to the Bureau of Prisons, 667 inmates at the Waseca prison are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and 121 staff members are. 

In an effort to combat the COVID-19 outbreak at the Waseca prison, operations have been modified. The prison is among 69 "level 3" facilities, which are considered "intense modifications" due to COVID-19. 

The prison has suspended visitors "until further notice," everyone is required to wear a face covering, and there is social distancing in all areas of the prison, according to the Bureau of Prisons.

COVID-19 operational levels are raised or lowered after 48 hours of sustained increases or decreases of medical isolation rate, facility vaccination rate or community transmission rate. To reach "level 3," the highest operation level, a prison must have a medical isolation rate of 7% or higher or a facility vaccination rate of under 50% or a community transmission rate of 100 or more cases per 100,000 over the past seven days. 

Waseca County has a community transmission rate of about 1,322 cases per 100,000 residents, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It and the entire state of Minnesota has high levels of community transmission (a rate of 100 or more cases per 100,000 people), as does 79.45% of all counties in the United States.  

According to the New York Times, Waseca County has the highest per capita case rate in the country, with 183 cases per 100,000 people.

How does it compare to MN's prisons?

In Minnesota's 11 state-run correctional facilities there were 125 positive cases of COVID-19 as of Dec. 7, according to the Minnesota Department of Corrections.

MCF-Lino Lakes has the highest number of cases with 70 inmates out of 911 total inmates testing positive for COVID.

MCF-St. Cloud is the next highest with 27 out of 696 inmates testing positive for COVID. 

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