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MCF-Moose Lake COVID-19 Response

(Reviewed March 28, 2022)

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.

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

Masks: During certain times of the pandemic, such as an outbreak and/or highly contagious variant, we will at times place all facility staff in N95 masks. Staff are required to wear masks at all times inside the facility. All incarcerated people have been supplied surgical masks. Each person has been given an ample supply of masks and instructions on how to put it on, and how to take it off safely. Staff are required to wear masks in the facility and the incarcerated population are required to wear them when outside their cells. 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-Moose Lake has implemented a number of measures to protect staff and their families. Similar to staff at health care facilities, DOC staff have been provided guidance for steps to take to protect their families while they continue to come to work. 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. All staff have been issued and are required to wear surgical mask and protective eyewear.

Hand washing stations: MCF-Moose Lake installed hand washing stations in the facility. Four hand washing sinks were installed in the lobby entrance to the facility. All individuals are required to wash their hands when entering and exiting the facility. Additionally, 57 hand sanitation stations for the incarcerated population were placed throughout the facility. For the incarcerated individuals, restrooms and kitchenettes also have sinks to wash hands. All individuals (staff and incarcerated individuals) are encouraged to wash their hands frequently throughout the day.

Screening: All staff are screened on a daily basis and are reviewed by supervisors if any questions are answered yes. All staff are provided with protective masks and are required to wear them.

Isolation Plans: MCF-Moose Lake has an isolation plan in place. Details include those incarcerated individuals displaying symptoms of COVID-19 and/or testing positive are being placed in an isolation area. While on isolation, incarcerated individuals have access to phones, mail, JPay tablets, canteen, linen, and medication/pill window, legal calls, showers, library, religious material, and other personal items.

Phones: MCF-Moose Lake incarcerated individuals receive two free five-minute phone calls per week in addition to the standard calls they could already purchase. Phone banks are sanitized with germicidal by living unit workers. The number of times is dependent upon who the use is from, non-quarantine incarcerated individuals and those quarantined. Sanitization with Germ Guard Disinfectant is required after use of those on quarantine status. The areas are sanitized multiple times a day. In addition, shields have been installed between each phone station.

In-Person Visiting: Visiting at Moose Lake is open Thursdays - Sundays. Families should go to the DOC visiting website for information on visiting. 

Video Visiting: Video Kiosks are sanitized with Germicidal Chemical & Germ Guard Disinfectant Deodorant by living unit workers. The number of times is dependent upon who the use is from, non-quarantine incarcerated individuals and those quarantined. Sanitization with Germ Guard Disinfectant is required after use of those on quarantine status. The video kiosk areas are sanitized multiple times a day.

Showers and Bathrooms: Incarcerated individuals still have access to showers and bathroom facilities. Moose Lake incarcerated individuals have access to showers and toilets in the living unit of which they live. This is true of all the living units with the exception of Unit 4 Segregation, which has toilets in each cell.

Recreation, Yard, and Courtyard Time: The main Gymnasium has been re-opened for use following standards set by the State of Minnesota. No contact sports are allowed, and any shared equipment is off limits. Social distancing is monitored by security staff. 

Food Services: All meals are eaten in Central Dining. The facility continues to follow the posted menu and when exceptions and/or substitutions are needed, notification is made. 

Work: At Moose Lake, incarcerated individuals who work in Food Service are preparing the meals and preparing the trays. They are also cleaning the kitchen/dining room after the meals are complete. MINNCOR participants are also making the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that are being distributed throughout the department. In addition, the print shop is creating material to be posted regarding safety. Maintenance has returned to work, ensuring adequate social distancing and separation between living units.

Medication: Pill windows are operating at Moose Lake. Health Service staff are delivering medications directly to the living units, only when necessary.

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

Canteen: purchases are picked up in the canteen area.

Education: The MCF- Moose Lake Education Department has returned to in-person learning, with separation between living units. 

Treatment: Paradigm Substance Use Disorder programming is currently delivered in a hybrid mode; partial distance learning and partial in person learning. Any Group work is conducted in small cohorts and over shorter duration of time. Clients also have access to their counselors for individual sessions and have smaller cohorts for any abstinent-based support group meetings and ancillary positive programming options. Staff and clients on the treatment unit are sanitizing common areas with increased frequency, wearing masks during programming, allowing for physical distancing, and practicing increased hand washing to help minimize any spread of COVID-19.

Television: Incarcerated individuals still have access to televisions—both in their room and in the common areas, with the appropriate social distancing which is maintained by security staff and incarcerated individuals.

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