BENSON (AP) -- Three western Minnesota counties are exploring converting part of a former prison into a center to care for people who have the new coronavirus.

Swift, Chippewa and Lac qui Parle counties have asked the owner of the Appleton prison that shuttered in 2010 about using a pod at the prison exclusively for COVID-19

The Swift County Monitor reports that boards in the three counties are expected to take votes on the idea next week.

Appleton Area Health Services chief executive Lori Andreas said the plan would start with 11 rooms and expand to 77 beds if needed.

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