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MCF-Rush City COVID-19 Response

(Reviewed March 8, 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 Rush City facility. This list is not necessarily exhaustive of all measures in place.

For Case Management related questions, please call 320-358-0476.

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-Rush City 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 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-Rush City has bathrooms available at each entrance into the facility. Several additional hand sanitizer receptacles have been installed throughout the facility for both staff, and incarcerated people. Restrooms and kitchenettes have sinks to wash hands. All individuals (staff and incarcerated) are encouraged to wash their hands frequently throughout the day.

Isolation Plans: MCF-Rush City has an isolation plan in place. Since Rush City has closed front cells, incarcerated individuals determined to need isolation will be isolated in their current cell assignment. Individuals on isolation and/or quarantine would be allowed phone calls as facility/unit schedules permitted with at least one call per day. Inmates on isolation or quarantine would retain all of their property. If isolation or quarantine included having to move to another unit or cell, the incarcerated person would pack their own property and move it with them.

MCF-Rush City incarcerated individuals now receive two free five-minute phone calls per week in addition to the standard calls they could already purchase. Phones are cleaned with germicidal cleaner multiple times a day.

In-Person Visiting: MCF- Rush City is open for in-person visiting on Saturdays and Sundays.  Visitors need to know what unit the incarcerated individual is in and will need to schedule their visit at least 24 hours in advance. 

Video Visiting:  Video kiosks are cleaned with germicidal cleaner multiple times a day.

Showers and Bathrooms: MCF-Rush City incarcerated individuals have access to daily showers and have toilets in their cells.

Recreation, Yard, and Courtyard Time: Temporary adjustments have been made to recreation schedules, but gyms, yards, flags and courtyards remain open to non-quarantined units. Non-contact sports are allowed in the yard, as is playing catch, using exercise equipment, and lifting weights. Contact sports are not allowed at this time. Social distancing is encouraged and monitored by security staff. Disinfecting of equipment is done with germicidal cleaner and monitored by security staff. Gyms and yard time has been reduced from 60 to 50 minutes in order to compensate for longer meal and cleaning times.

Screening: All staff 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 eye protection and are required to wear them in accordance with the current PPE Matrix.

Food Services: MCF-Rush City is serving all meals in the living units to ensure social distancing is maintained while individuals are eating. 

Work: When each area is open, Rush City has incarcerated individuals working in the kitchen, industry (Plastech, Anagram, license plates), corridor crew, gym workers, barbers, education, and all living units and all workers are responsible for practicing social distancing.

Medication: Rush City medication distribution takes place in Health Services or the unit, depending on which unit. Provider appointments are completed in Health Services when able to or in the unit when necessary. Sick call appointments take place in the living units, or in Health Services when able.

Mail and Emails: Incarcerated people can still send and receive mail and emails as they normally would. Additionally, legal mail is distributed via property window by each unit for Rush City incarcerated individuals receiving legal mail.

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

Education: The Rush City Education department developed a plan to administer GED tests, TABE, tests, and law library access, by unit, and by cohort. Currently Adult Basic Education is operating under a hybrid model of instruction. Meaning, students attend education Monday through Thursday (AM or PM) with Friday as a distance learning day. Fridays are set aside for Tutors. Tutors and students live in separate units. Under rules of Covid, we do not mix units. Career Tech students meet Monday Through Friday (Am and PM). College Courses – Lectures and videos are broadcast on TV Channel 46-1 – Assignments, handouts etc are delivered to the Incarcerated student each week.

Treatment: Rush City incarcerated individuals participating in Supportive Living Services are meeting in smaller groups in the unit and larger groups meet in the courtyard weather permitting. They are also provided 1:1 time with their assigned therapist. Psychiatric appointments occur regularly in person or tele medicine as medically necessary. Offenders Achieving Safety in Society have 5 days a week of programming, 4 days a week of group therapy, 1 day of psychoeducation classes, 1:1 meetings with therapy staff as needed, Psychiatric appointments occur regularly in person or tele medicine as medically necessary.

Television: Rush City incarcerated individuals have access to televisions in their rooms.

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