Moose Lake Sex Offender Program reports first COVID-19 death

Fewer than 8% of the sex offenders receiving treatment in Moose Lake and St. Peter have had confirmed cases of the coronavirus.

Minnesota Sex Offender Program, Moose Lake FILE.jpg
The Minnesota Sex Offender Program facility at Moose Lake, Minn. (2011 file / News Tribune)
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A client in the Moose Lake Sex Offender Program died Tuesday after contracting COVID-19. It was the first sex offender death attributed to the virus at state treatment facilities in Moose Lake and St. Peter.

In all, the state reports 18 active cases of the disease between sex offender programs in Moose Lake and St. Peter. Site-specific data could not be disclosed under data privacy laws, according to Christopher Sprung, a spokesman for the Minnesota Department of Human Services. The Moose Lake program currently provides treatment for about 450 sex offenders.

To date, the Moose Lake and St. Peter facilities have confirmed a combined total of 57 COVID-19 cases among the 737-person population they serve. That equates to a client infection rate of about 7.7%.

The family members of the deceased Moose Lake client have been notified, but Sprung said no information about the person's age or identity could be publicly disclosed.

The Minnesota Department of Human Services reported that health precautions are being taken in both Moose Lake and St. Peter, where staff members are screened daily for fever or other COVID-19 symptoms and are required to wear surgical masks when on duty. Meanwhile, sex offenders are required to wear cloth masks and are allowed to mingle with only fellow clients in their respective units. Individuals exposed to or infected by the virus are placed in quarantine to prevent its spread.


The Moose Lake and St. Peter facilities have temporarily suspended outside visits. Suppliers, contractors and essential service providers who must enter the facilities nevertheless can only do so after they are successfully screened and cleared.

Peter Passi covers city government for the Duluth News Tribune. He joined the paper in April 2000, initially as a business reporter but has worked a number of beats through the years.
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