St. Cloud prison on lockdown after over 1/2 of inmates test positive for COVID-19

The state prison in St. Cloud, Minnesota is on a modified lockdown due to a recent spike in COVID-19 cases, officials confirmed to FOX 9. 

Minnesota Department of Corrections spokesperson Sarah Fitzgerald said as of Nov. 11, were 335 current cases of COVID-19 among the 623 inmates in the Minnesota Correctional Facility-St. Cloud. Fifty-nine staff members were also out with the coronavirus.  

Fitzgerald said positive COVID-19 cases were showing up in every unit in the prison, so they locked it down to minimize the spread of the virus and moved the infected inmates to the same unit. 

 The St. Cloud prison is the intake facility for the entire DOC system, so the DOC is “trying to slow down intakes as much as possible,” Fitzgerald said in an email to FOX 9.  

Fitzgerald pointed to explosive growth in COVID-19 cases in the community as the reason for the spike in cases in congregate living settings like the prison. 

The outbreak at the St. Cloud prison accounts for nearly one third of the active COVID-19 cases in the state’s prison system. So far in this pandemic, there have been 2,137 total cases of COVID-19 among prison inmates and three deaths—two in the Faribault prison and one in Stillwater