Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

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Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

First presumptive case of coronavirus in Minnesota

Minnesota Department of Health is awaiting confirmation from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

 

March 12, 2020



Kristen Ehresman

Director, Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Prevention and Control Division

Minnesota Department of Health

An older adult resident of Ramsey County recently traveled on a cruise ship with a known COVID-19 case. The patient began to develop symptoms on Feb. 25 and sought health care Thursday. Samples were collected from the person and sent to the MDH Public Health Laboratory for testing, using the new CDC test kit that MDH began using Monday, March 2. The test was found positive. MDH is awaiting confirmatory testing from CDC, but health officials consider the presumptive results actionable.

The patient is currently in isolation at home and is recovering. MDH is working in partnership with St. Paul-Ramsey County Public Health to provide essential services and support to the patient. MDH is working to identify and contact all those who may have come in contact with the infected person. These people will be asked to quarantine themselves for 14 days from their exposure and will be monitored for fever and respiratory symptoms.

Since the outbreak started in China in December 2019, more than 100,000 cases and 3,400 deaths have been reported in more than 80 countries. That total includes 233 U.S. cases and 14 deaths.

Our key messages continue to be:

• Covering your coughs and sneezes with a tissue and then throwing the tissue in the trash.

• Washing your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom or before eating. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

• Avoid touching your face – especially your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

• Stay home if you have cold or flu-like symptoms, and avoid close contact with people who are sick.

If COVID-19 disease begins to spread in Minnesota communities, state and local public health authorities would consider community interventions such as temporary closures of child care facilities and schools, workplace social distancing measures such as replacing in-person meetings with teleworking, and modifying, postponing or cancelling mass gatherings. Decisions about the implementation of community measures would be made by state and local officials based on CDC guidance as well as the scope of the outbreak.

More information about the coronavirus situation in Minnesota, the U.S. and internationally can be found on MDH’s Coronavirus Disease 2019 web page.

 

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