LAKE COUNTY, MINNESOTA ~~ May 7, 2020 (LSN) The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) confirmed Lake County’s first identified case of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) , May 6th
“The appearance of the virus in Lake County has been expected,” said Lake County Emergency Management Director BJ Kohlstedt. “Lake County Emergency Management and Lake County Health and Human Services have been working closely with the Minnesota Department of Health on preparation and mitigation efforts for several months.”
The infected person is an adult resident of Lake County in their 50s. MDH is working to identify and notify all those who may have come in contact with the infected person. Those people will be asked to quarantine themselves for 14 days from their exposure and will be monitored for fever and respiratory symptoms. No other information about the infected person will be released.
The virus that causes COVID-19 is spread by respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how flu and other respiratory diseases spread, or when people touch surfaces that have been contaminated by an infected person and then touch their eyes, nose or mouth.
Symptoms of COVID-19 can include fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, headache, muscle pain, sore throat, or loss of taste or smell. Not everyone with COVID-19 has all of these symptoms, and some people may not have any symptoms.
People who do not have symptoms should generally not be tested for COVID-19. People who should be tested are those who have symptoms of COVID-19, especially hospitalized patients, health care workers, patients and staff in congregate care settings, dialysis and other patients including outpatients. MDH may also recommend that people get tested in certain situations, such as a setting where an outbreak is occurring.
In the State of Minnesota, the first case of COVID-19 was identified on March 6. As of today, 8,579 cases have been identified in 82 of Minnesota’s 87 counties, and 485 Minnesotans have died of COVID-19. It is important for people to understand that because testing capabilities have been extremely limited, the number of identified cases does not reflect the actual numbers of cases.
Accordingly, Kohlstedt stressed the importance of everyone strictly adhering to recommendations to stop the spread, which include:
• Frequently washing your hands
• Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces daily
• Covering your cough • Staying home especially when you’re sick
• Avoiding unnecessary travel, and
• Social distancing.
A stay-at-home order, which directs Minnesotans to limit movements outside of their homes beyond essential needs, is currently in effect until May 18. That order may be extended by Governor Walz.
While most cases of COVID-19 have reportedly been mild, these measures are necessary to protect older adults and those with underlying health conditions, like diabetes, lung disease and heart disease, that put them at a greater risk of severe illness.
“News of the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Lake County brings with it a new reality for all Lake County residents,” said Rich Sve, Chairman of the Lake County Board of Commissioners. “Understandably, there are many concerns and some angst. In Lake County we have a strong sense of community and public good. Together we will see this through with positive results.” Chairman Sve also encouraged everyone to follow all of the recommendations to mitigate the risk of spreading this virus to our family, friends and neighbors and front-line essential workers.
For more information about COVID-19, please go to one of the following websites:
• Lake County COVID Hub www.co.lake.mn.us • Minnesota Department of Health (State) www.health.state.mn.us
• Center for Disease Control and Prevention (National) www.cdc.gov
• World Health Organization (International) www.who.int The Minnesota Department of Health has set up a hotline for questions about COVID at 651-201-3920 or 800-657-3903. The hotline is available from 8 am- 6 pm every day.
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