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MCF-Faribault COVID-19 Response

(Reviewed May 4, 2021)

Minnesota Department of Corrections Commissioner Paul Schnell has directed each of the state’s prisons to implement “Stay with Unit” plans to provide living unit separation, and to minimize the potential for COVID-19 spread. “Stay with Unit” ensures incarcerated individuals participate in facility activities, including any programming, yard time, and dining, only with others in their living unit. By providing living unit separation, better social distancing becomes possible and we minimize the potential for widespread outbreaks across entire facilities.

For questions about Faribault’s covid response, and your loved ones, please call 507-332-4569. Please leave a voicemail and your call will be returned. 

We have implemented some additional temporary measures and a further modified schedule.  All those who tested positive have been isolated, following CDC protocol, and are being closely monitored for any changes in health condition. The following are additional temporary measures currently in place:

• Mental Health services are provided in person in our programming building, in unit, and via video

• Health Services continues to provide at least daily services in unit to those in quarantined/isolated areas. All others are screened first, then go to Health Services on a pass by wing in order to remain socially distanced

• Canteen is delivered in living units

• Meals are currently delivered in living units

• Medications are being distributed in unit for those in quarantine/isolation areas. All others go to Pill Window by wing in order to remain socially distanced

• Yards are open daily with modified schedules per unit. 

• Full flags have resumed for most units. Cohorts still in place for medical, quarantine, and isolation reasons.  

• Programming: Education has resumed. Inmates go to Education by wing on specific days

• Work Assignments: Some work assignments are limited. Food Services, Industry, Education, Janitors, Yard Crew/Maintenance workers are all back to work

• Phones will continue, though with more limited schedules. Additionally, video visiting will remain available but only during flag time as assigned.

Listed below are the previous procedures put in place, including the Stay with Unit plan.

The following additional measures have been taken to protect those within the Faribault facility. This list is not necessarily exhaustive of all measures in place.

Masks: Cloth barrier masks have been provided to incarcerated people at all DOC facilities. Each person has been given instructions for how to care for the mask, how to put it on, and how to take it off safely. All staff at MCF-Faribault are required to wear a barrier mask when at the facility. The DOC follows Minnesota Department of Health guidelines for when and how personal protective equipment is used.

Co-Pays: Medical co-pays have been reinstated for most situations: including routine medical, dental, eye and physical exams. Any individual reporting respiratory/cold/cough systems will NOT be charged a co-pay at this time. We had previously waived ALL medical co-pays for the duration of the Governor’s declared emergency.

Protecting Staff and their Families: MCF-Faribault has implemented a number of measures to protect staff and their families. Similar to staff at health care facilities, staff have been provided guidance for steps to take to protect their families while they continue to come to work every day. Information has been distributed and is on posters at the facility for washing hands when they leave work, designating a door of their home just for them to enter and exit, changing clothes and showering when they get home, and avoiding sharing food, among other steps.

Hand washing stations: All individuals are required to wash their hands when entering and exiting the facility. There are handwashing stations in restrooms and in the Master Control Lobby and Visiting Lobby. In addition, hand sanitizer stations are available and stationed throughout the facility. All individuals (staff and incarcerated population) are encouraged to wash their hands frequently throughout the day with the following guidelines: wet, soap, apply friction for 20 seconds, rinse, dry and turn water off with a paper towel. Use hand sanitizer as a secondary backup when hand washing is not readily available and hands are not visibly soiled. Apply a quarter-sized amount of hand sanitizer thoroughly and let air dry. Do not wipe off hand sanitizer while it is drying.

Screening: All staff are required to screen on a daily basis for recent symptoms. If they have been symptomatic, a physician’s approval is required to return to work. All staff are provided with protective masks and are required to wear them.

Isolation Plans: MCF-Faribault has an isolation plan in the event an incarcerated person contracts COVID-19. Details include moving all effected incarcerated individuals to one living unit. Those in Linden, Maple and Dakota will have in-unit isolation and quarantine if the numbers get outside of the allowed amount of facility open beds. The facility also has a plan developed to follow the CDC protocol for “step down,” to provide an additional period of separation for someone after recovering from COVID-19 but before returning to general population.

Phones: Incarcerated individuals receive two free five-minute phone calls per week in addition to the standard calls they could already purchase. The phones are cleaned with germicide after every use. Unit janitors also clean the phones multiple times throughout the day.

In-Person Visiting: In-person visiting at MCF-Faribault is open.  All visits must be scheduled in advance. 

Video Visiting: Loved ones on the outside now receive one free 15-minute video call per week. The kiosks are cleaned with germicide after every use.

Showers and Bathrooms: Inmates at MCF-Faribault still have access to showers and bathroom facilities, and most have toilets in their cells.

Recreation, Yard, and Courtyard Time: At Faribault, recreation is not currently open, opportunities for outdoor recreation have been increased. Staff reinforce social distancing and disinfecting. Social distancing is further enforced by units recreating separately from other units.

Food Services: Faribault serves two hot meals each day, along with a bagged lunch. All meals are delivered to the units. 

Work: At Faribault, incarcerated individuals are continuing to work in the following occupations: janitors, education, chemical dependency, food service, MINNCOR, Industry Anagram, Industry Woodshop, and laundry, while practicing safe social distancing.

Medication: Faribault has modified its Pill Window for two meal periods, which means incarcerated people are allowed to go the pill window at meal times. Evaluations have taken place to determine if certain medication may be kept with the inmate during this time.

Mail and Emails: Incarcerated individuals can still send and receive mail and emails as they normally would.

Canteen: Items purchased from the inmate store are still being delivered to the living units.

Education: Small group classes are taking place in-person for some classes. Students are practicing social distancing, mask wearing, and maintaining their small wing cohorts in the classroom. Distance learning is also continuing for some other classes. 

Treatment: Faribault is shrinking the size of treatment groups to allow for distancing which includes in unit small groups. We established communication opportunities from treatment and mental health staff to inmates using tablets.

Television: Incarcerated individuals still have access to televisions—both in their room and in the common areas, with the appropriate social distancing. The  network channel is utilized for updates and the inmate movie channel has increased its movie selection. One TV on the flag is permanently set to the network for information.

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