The Minnesota Department of Corrections reports that a 57-year-old man who was incarcerated at the Minnesota Correctional Facility-Rush City, and had recently been diagnosed with COVID-19, died at St. Joseph’s Hospital in St. Paul on Nov. 28.

The man’s identity is being withheld pending full notification of next of kin.

“We extend our condolences to the family and friends of this man,” said Minnesota Department of Corrections (DOC) Commissioner Paul Schnell in a press release. “The level of community spread of COVID-19 makes our extensive efforts to minimize the introduction and spread of COVID-19 in the state’s correctional facilities that much more challenging. We are committed to continuing our aggressive testing and spread mitigation efforts as we closely monitor the health status and medical needs of those who contract this virus.”

This is the fifth COVID-related death of an incarcerated person in the Minnesota DOC system since the pandemic began, and the first from MCF-Rush City. Rush City currently has 49 COVID-positive incarcerated people, and 21 COVID-positive staff.  Two incarcerated people from other facilities are currently in critical condition and receiving ventilator treatment at outside hospitals.  Several DOC staff members are currently hospitalized due to COVID.

The DOC stated that it has conducted comprehensive testing of all incarcerated people and staff in our facilities, and taken measures across the system to manage the risk of COVID-19 entering facilities and spreading, including: implementing “Stay with Unit” plans, enacting mandatory barrier mask policies, and installing handwashing stations. Each facility has also taken a number of steps specific to their unique environment. 

Other Local Correctional Facilities

According to the Bureau of Prisons, the federal correctional institution in Sandstone currently has 56 inmates positive for COVID, with 11 staff positive as well. There are have been 181 inmates recovered and one staff member recovered and no deaths. 

The Minnesota Correctional Facility in Willow River had an outbreak earlier this year, with 82 recovered and one currently positive and no deaths.


Total number of cases: 1,395

New cases last week: 203

Positive cases incarcerated at Willow River: 73

Positive cases incarcerated at FCI Sandstone: 245

Patients who had to be hospitalized: 70

Age range of patients: 1-96 years old

Deaths: 8

Statistics provided by Pine County Public Health

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