A 64-year-old inmate at the Faribault state prison who recently tested positive for COVID-19 died Friday, becoming the sixth Minnesota prisoner to succumb to the virus — and the second just this week.
At least three other Minnesota inmates remain hospitalized in critical condition and breathing on ventilators.
The man, who has not been identified by the Department of Corrections, died at St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester.
In a statement, DOC Commissioner Paul Schnell expressed his sympathies to the man’s family.
“This man’s death, along with more than 3,800 others in our state, serves as a sad reminder of the impact of this pandemic,” he said. “We are continuing our aggressive testing and spread-mitigation efforts as we closely monitor the health status and medical needs of those who contract this virus.”
Half of the state’s inmate fatalities have originated from Faribault prison.
On Thursday, authorities revealed that a Moose Lake inmate had died, marking the first pandemic-related fatality among staff or those civilly committed at the state’s two program sites for sex offenders.
Most prisons have remained on semi-permanent lockdown since March, prohibiting visitors, restricting inmate movements and disrupting educational programming to fight the virus’ spread.
But the outbreak still slipped behind bars last spring, hopping from prisons in Moose Lake to Faribault, St. Cloud and Stillwater, which is now among the largest known hot spots of infections in the state. About 75% of Stillwater’s overall prison population has tested positive, in addition to nearly 200 staff members.
Since March, more than 3,000 Minnesota inmates have tested positive for the virus. More than 845 corrections staff members around the state have also fallen ill with COVID-19. The majority have since returned to work.