Carlton County COVID-19 update (March 13)
March 13, 2020
Carlton County is sending regular updates on COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. The following update has been edited by the Pine Knot News to make it more relevant to the general public. These updates are providing you with the most up-to-date information that public health has from the Minnesota Department of Health and the Center for Disease Control, and are based in science and not hearsay or rumors.
Current Numbers as of 3/12:
Global: 125,048 confirmed cases, 4,613 deaths
US: 1,215 confirmed cases, 36 deaths (42 states and District of Columbia reporting confirmed cases)
MN: 9 confirmed cases, 0 deaths
MN COVID-19 Hotline
Minnesota has set up a hotline for the public who have specific questions about COVID-19 (please note that this is not a phone line for people to share their opinions or a complaint line – the people who answer are not the decision makers, and are only equipped to answer questions about COVID-19 based on the most up to date information provided by the state). The hotline is staffed during business hours: 651-201-3920
When a positive case is determined…
The Minnesota Department of Health takes the lead on the disease investigation with the person who tested positive, and any related contacts. They loop local public health in at the time there is an identified positive case in their county. The risk levels for determining the spectrum of surveillance (isolation, quarantine, monitoring symptoms) that they use are as follows:
High Risk: Someone is determined high risk if they live within the same household (spouse, family, etc.) as the person who tested positive. These people are highly recommended to isolate for 14 days (isolation: cannot leave house). Public health would be brought in to provide necessary essential services for this person, but without any contact face to face with the person.
Medium Risk: Someone who has been within 6 feet, for more than 10 minutes, of someone who has a confirmed positive COVID-19 diagnosis. These people are recommended to quarantine themselves for 14 days (quarantine: can leave the house for necessary reasons – groceries, etc.). The incubation period for COVID-19 is 14 days, so if the person is going to contract the virus, symptoms would show up within these 14 days. *Just because someone falls into this category does not mean that they will contract COVID-19. If they used good personal preparedness measures (washing their hands after their visit, etc.), they may have mitigated their risk, just like you would prepare against influenza, etc.
Low Risk: Our general population
Wash hands, stay home if you're sick
Remember to use good personal preparedness, like washing your hands after your visit/meeting. As a reminder, COVID-19 is spread by droplets, so unless a client sneezes/coughs in your face, or you have hand to hand contact where droplets are/could be spread, you are at very low risk. The most important thing at this point is to prepare and protect yourself just like you would for the spread of any respiratory illness like influenza.
- Although handwashing is preferred, if you only have access to hand sanitizer, please make sure you rub it in to your hands until they are dry (vs. spreading it on your hands and waving them dry).
Two key points from the Minnesota Department of Health today:
- There is not high community transmission right now – most cases have had an international travel history, or are connected to someone who traveled internationally.
- If someone presents with respiratory symptoms in any workplace, it is much more likely that they have influenza, or another commonly circulating respiratory illness, not COVID-19.
- Minnesota Department of Health is NOT recommending school closures at this time. You may have seen that colleges and universities are moving to temporary closures or virtual learning. These decisions are made by the local entities based on concerns specific to their populations (international students, etc.). The main message from MDH, at this time, is to recommend social distancing (creating more space between people). We remain in the ‘containment’ stage of this disease and have not moved into community mitigation (ex. cancelling large gatherings/events) at this time.