When the Minnesota Department of Health’s daily COVID-19 update was published Friday, there was a surprising change in the number of cases posted by county. Stevens County was back to zero. Could the change be just a posting error?
MDH notified Horizon Public Health of the first lab-confirmed COVID-19 case in Stevens County May 6. Since then it has been assumed that number would grow.
To find out why Stevens County was back with the three other counties in Minnesota to yet register a COVID-19 case, The Stevens County Times called the COVID-19 MDH hotline Friday.
An MDH spokesperson explained it this way: “Read the statement at the top the county cases report. It says, ‘County of residence is confirmed during the case interview. At the time of this posting not all interviews have been completed. The county residence data may not equal the total number of reported positive cases.’”
For Stevens County to fall back to zero cases either means the person’s test was eventually considered negative, or the person wasn’t a resident of the county. All positive cases of COVID-19 are assigned to a person’s county of residence.
As of Sunday, just Stevens, Hubbard, Cook and Lake of the Woods counties were the only ones COVID-19 free among Minnesota’s 87 counties.
Sunday MDH reported Minnesota’ death total from the deadly disease caused by the coronavirus had climbed by 22 to 722. Over the past week, the average number of deaths recorded in the state per day has been 21.
Eighty-one percent of the deaths, 587, have been among residents at long-term care facilities or assisted living facilities.
There have been 15,668 positives tests in the state with 2,090 people requiring hospitalization and 221 in intensive care. Just shy of 14 percent of those who get COVID-19 require hospitalization.
Horizon Public Health has seen very slow growth in the number of cases of COVID-19 it is monitoring in its five counties with the total going from 27 to 28 in the past week. The majority of those cases, 18, are in Douglas County.
To Stevens County’s southwest, Swift County has seen its number of cases in the past week increase from 5 to 13. It sits next door to Kandiyohi County, which has seen its numbers jump from 284 May 10 to 412 May 17. Many of those cases can be traced to the Jennie-O turkey processing facilities in Willmar.
Stay safe and don’t spread the virus
The Minnesota Department of Health recommends the following steps to stay safe and slow the spread of the coronavirus.
– Stay home if you have cold- or flu-like symptoms for seven days after your illness onset and three days after your fever goes away without fever reducing medicine (whichever is longer) and avoid close contact with people who are sick.
– practice social distancing when in public – staying at least six feet apart from others not living in your home or apartment.
– Cover your coughs and sneezes
– Avoid touching your face
– Clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces
– Don’t gather with others and follow the state’s stay-at-home guidelines
– Limit your trips to buy essential items
– If possible, call first before you go to a medical facility if you are feeling sick. Healthcare workers will give you instructions on how they will assess your symptoms and safely handle bringing you inside to protect other patients and staff.
– Wear a face covering when in public to protect others.