• 70°

State moves prisoner intake from St. Cloud due to COVID-19

ST. CLOUD — The Minnesota Department of Corrections is moving the state’s prisoner intake operations from the St. Cloud prison where the number of coronavirus cases has spiked.

The intake function will move to the Lino Lakes prison north of the Twin Cities this week, and will remain there “for the foreseeable future” to allow the St. Cloud facility to stabilize its number of cases, Corrections Commissioner Paul Schnell said.

The St. Cloud prison had 122 positive COVID-19 cases as of Tuesday, a big jump from just two cases in late June. Many of those tested didn’t have any symptoms, Schnell said.

Until this week, all incarcerated men initially went to the St. Cloud prison where they’re quarantined for 14 days. Once they are sent to another prison they are quarantined for another two weeks.

The same 14-day quarantine process for new arrivals will be used at Lino Lake, officials said.

Schnell compared the spike at the St. Cloud facility to an outbreak at the Faribault prison, where the number of positive cases broke 200 earlier this month, then leveled off, Minnesota Public Radio News reported.

The design of older prisons like St. Cloud, which has bars on cells instead of solid doors, can make it easier for the virus to spread, Schnell said.