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MCF-Togo COVID-19 Response

(Reviewed March 1, 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 Togo facility. This list is not necessarily exhaustive of all measures in place.

For questions about Togo's covid response, and your loved ones, please call (218) 376-7849. 

Masks: N95 masks have been distributed to staff and incarcerated people at MCF-Togo. All staff and visitors/contractors are required to wear N95’s and incarcerated people are required to wear the surgical masks. Barrier mask are required for all staff and incarcerated people. 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. The masks are required to be worn in 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-Togo 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: Hand sanitizer is available by exits and throughout the facility. MCF-Togo has all staff enter the admin near washrooms and all individuals are required to wash their hands when entering and exiting the facility.

Additional hand sanitizer receptacles have been installed throughout the facility. Restrooms and kitchenettes also have sinks to wash hands. All individuals (staff and incarcerated) are encouraged to wash their hands frequently throughout the day.

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 are required to wear them.

Isolation Plans: MCF-Togo has an isolation plan in place. MCF-Togo has designated a building that will house incarcerated individuals showing symptoms of, or testing positive for COVID-19. Those showing symptoms or testing positive will be housed in isolation. These individuals will be separated from the main population at all times. They will have access to regular meals, program and personal materials, showers, laundry, linen, mail, phones, religious materials, legal calls and canteen.

Phones: Incarcerated people at Togo now receive two free five-minute phone calls per week in addition to the standard calls they could already purchase. Phones are cleaned before and after every use with germicidal disinfectant spray and by inmate cleaning crews multiple times per day.

Visiting: All visits must be scheduled in advance. For more information: https://mn.gov/doc/facilities/togo/

Video Visiting: Loved ones on the outside now receive one free 15-minute video visit per week. Additional video visits can be purchased at a reduced rate, and hours have been expanded and Togo inmates can have video visits throughout the day. Video kiosks are cleaned before and after every use with germicidal disinfectant spray and by the inmate cleaning crews multiple times per day.

Showers and Bathrooms: Incarcerated people still have access to showers and bathroom facilities. MCF-Togo inmates have access to two showers a day and regular access to bathrooms.

Recreation, Yard, and Courtyard Time: Gymnasium activities such as physical training, and indoor group activities have been reinstated allowing for social distancing. Outdoor recreation time is still occurring at MCF-Togo. Staff monitor all activities ensuring social distancing is practiced, and all recreation equipment is disinfected before and after its used. 

Food Services: MCF-Togo has divided up serving times so fewer people are in the dining hall at once. Individuals are separated by six feet at tables, and meal times have been extended.

Work: MCF-Togo has incarcerated individuals working in laundry, cleaning crews, grounds cleaning and food services, they are practicing social distancing when working.

Medication: MCF-Togo does not have a pill window line, as all meds are “keep on person.”

Mail and Emails: MCF-Togo 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 living units.

Education: MCF-Togo’s distance learning plans allows education to continue either by living unit or by homework packets given to students. In some situations staff have recorded lessons to show participants.

Treatment: MCF-Togo’s distance treatment plan allows participants to continue either by living unit or by packets given to the participants.

Television: MCF-Togo Challenge Incarceration Program participants do not have access to television.

Additional Social Distancing: MCF-Togo has implemented a modified program schedule to ensure six foot spacing. All programming has been adjusted to ensure social distancing and that marching is being done with six foot spacing. There will be no graduation ceremonies for safety reasons.

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