MCF-Lino Lakes COVID-19 Response
(Updated April 29, 2020)
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.
At MCF-Lino Lakes, the “Stay with Unit” plan allows for further separation and distancing by only one wing in a unit engaging in a particular activity at a given time. The following additional measures have been taken to protect those within the Lino Lakes facility.
Masks: Cloth barrier masks will soon be available for staff and 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. Masks must be worn when social distancing is not possible.
Lino Lakes Health Services staff have N95 masks, and there are a limited number of N95s for corrections officers to use when escorting symptomatic inmates to isolation, or when packing up the property of a symptomatic inmate. The DOC follows Minnesota Department of Health guidelines for when and how personal protective equipment is used.
Co-Pays: We have waived all medical co-pays for the duration of the Governor’s declared emergency to ensure no one is discouraged from seeking care.
Protecting Staff and their Families: MCF-Lino Lakes 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: MCF-Lino Lakes has installed new hand washing stations in the facility. Lino Lakes has installed three handwashing sinks outside the lobby entrance to the facility and other hand washing stations were installed in the lobby, at the B-Control entrance, at B-Building and at Minimum. All individuals are required to wash their hands when entering and exiting the facility. Twelve additional hand sanitizer receptacles have been installed throughout the facility. Inmate restrooms and kitchenettes also have sinks to utilize for washing hands. All individuals (staff and inmates) are encouraged to wash their hands frequently throughout the day.
Screening: All staff are have their temperature taken and are screened 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-Lino Lakes has an isolation plan in place. Inmates presenting symptoms will be secured in their cell and Health Services will be contacted. Health Services will assess the inmate and determine if quarantine or isolation is needed. If needed, the inmate will pack up their property, including all bedding, and move in one process to avoid unnecessary exposure to West B for quarantine placement or West C for isolation placement.
Phones: MCF-Lino Lakes’ inmates now receive two free five-minute phone calls per week in addition to the standard calls they could already purchase. The user sanitizes the phones after each use.
Video Visiting: Loved ones on the outside now receive one free 15-minute video call per week. Additional calls can also be purchased at a reduced rate, and hours have been expanded. The user sanitizes the video visiting kiosks after each use.
Showers and Bathrooms: Inmates still have access to showers and bathroom facilities. Lino Lakes’ inmate showers and bathrooms are running as usual with proper social distancing. This means limiting the number of inmates in bathrooms that are shared at a time. The minimum-security units are limiting one inmate per bathroom at any given time.
Recreation, Yard, and Courtyard Time: At Lino Lakes, the gym and fitness areas are now limited to 50 inmates at each session. Security staff monitor social distancing while recreation janitors disinfect exercise equipment. The yard schedules have been increased, and courtyard time for living units is available multiple times per day. All team and contact sports have been suspended until further notice. Signs have been posted to remind inmates about social distancing.
Food Services: MCF-Lino Lakes has reduced the number of inmates who can be in the dining hall. Security staff enforces social distancing.
Work: Inmates at Lino Lakes are still working in the physical plant, living units, and certain programs (some clerks, tutors, and mentors).
Medication: Lino Lakes’ pill window is still open with inmates reporting after meals or called up by Health Services staff.
Mail and Emails: Inmates 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 units.
Education: The Lino Lakes Education building will soon be open for students to attend classes by living unit with smaller class sizes. Cleaning crews will consist of workers from the same living unit who will clean the building during times when no other living unit students are present. Additional cleaning of the education area will occur in the evenings. Distance learning will consist of materials given to students to be completed in their respective living units. The Offender Network will be utilized to provide a daily schedule of programs provided to students as well as communications for daily and weekly work assignment distribution, assistance, and collection.
Treatment: Lino Lakes’ treatment programs are providing services in a variety of ways, including smaller in-person group sizes, 1:1 counseling, and using materials that can be completed in cells. Treatment participants and staff maintain social distancing.
Television: Inmates still have access to televisions—both in their room and in the common areas, with the appropriate social distancing.