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COVID-19 news and advice

 

June 5, 2020

Jana Peterson

COVID-19 can spread easily and quickly in large groups of people close together for long periods of time. Thousands of people may have been exposed in protests across the country last week.

Are you worried about exposure to the coronavirus after attending a protest or even just going to a crowded store?

Here's the latest COVID-19 advice from the Minnesota Department of Health and CDC

Q&A

I was involved in protesting, a large gathering such as a vigil, or a neighborhood cleanup event - do I need to get tested?

If you start to feel sick, get tested right away. If you are not feeling sick, we recommend you go in for a COVID-19 test as soon as possible, but no later than 5-7 days after the event(s).

COVID-19 can spread easily and quickly in large groups of people close together for long periods of time. Thousands of people may have been exposed. Testing will improve the ability to stop the spread of the disease.

If I wore a mask, should I still get tested?

We recommend you get tested for COVID-19. A cloth mask helps prevent you from spreading the virus, but it's not a guarantee that you were not exposed to the virus by someone else.

When do I get tested?

Get tested as soon as possible if you feel sick. If you are not sick, try to get tested within 5-7 days from the date of the event. Some people who are infected may not have symptoms. Symptoms may appear two to 14 days after exposure to the virus.

If I feel fine, why do I need to be tested?

Some people who are infected may not have symptoms. Symptoms may appear two to 14 days after exposure to the virus, or in some cases, not at all. You could still spread COVID-19 to others.

Is the state setting up testing stations for protest participants or people who participated in associated activities like vigils, neighborhood watch, or neighborhood cleanup?

The Minnesota Department of Health and local health providers are looking at setting up testing stations in various locations that were significantly impacted by the recent protests. More information will be available soon.

I didn't participate in these events but was nearby while they were happening. Do I need to be tested?

Large protests, vigils, or cleanup events can become "super spreader events." Even though you did not participate in the event, this virus spreads via microscopic droplets, typically through the air when people cough, sneeze, sing, or talk. If you were within 6 feet of others who were participating, you are encouraged to get tested.

I have a family member who was involved in protests or related activities. Do I need to get tested?

If you live with or have had direct contact with your family member, you are encouraged to get tested. Many people do not have symptoms for days but can still spread the virus to others.

I don't have insurance or a way to pay for the test. Is it free?

Yes. Most health insurance companies in Minnesota and public health care programs such as Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare have waived copays, coinsurance, and deductibles associated with these charges, making them free. If you are uninsured, medical providers can cover the cost of your testing through a variety of federally funded options for reimbursement. The State of Minnesota is covering the cost of testing for any person who is not covered by insurance or by available federal funding.

symptoms

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported - ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness.

Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms or combinations of symptoms may have COVID-19:

• Cough

• Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

Or at least two of these symptoms:

• Fever

• Chills

• Repeated shaking with chills

• Muscle pain

• Headache

• Sore throat

• New loss of taste or smell

This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.

If you or a member of your household has signs of COVID-19, call your doctor first, instead of going to the office or the emergency department.

if you're sick

• Get plenty of rest and do activities that require little effort like reading a book or watching a movie.

• Drink lots of water and other fluids.

• If you have a sore throat, eat soft foods such as soup or smoothies.

• If you regularly take any medicine prescribed by your doctor, keep taking it, unless a health care provider tells you to stop.

• If you have a fever, take fever-reducing medicine, following the instructions on the product label.

Taking care of your symptoms at home, when you can, is an important way to slow the spread of COVID-19.

If you find your symptoms getting worse, call one of the hotlines listed here. If your health care provider or the hotline recommends testing, tests are available at Community Memorial Hospital in Cloquet, or Essentia Healthcare and St. Lukes in Duluth.

• If you have symptoms of a respiratory disease (these include fever, coughing, muscle aches, sore throat, and headache), you should stay home for at least 7 days, and for 3 days with no fever and improvement of respiratory symptoms - whichever is longer. (Your fever should be gone for 3 days without using fever-reducing medicine.)

• If you have a fever and coughing for 4 days, you need to stay home 3 more days with no fever for a total of 7 days. Or, if you have a fever and coughing for 5 days, you need to stay home 3 more days with no fever for a total of 8 days.

hotlines

Community Memorial Hospital and the CMH Raiter Clinic are asking people who think they should be tested to call the Nurse Hotline at 218-499-6799. Leave a message if needed on this 24-hour hotline.

Other regional healthcare hotlines include Essentia Health at 1-833-494-0836 and St. Luke's at 218-249-4200.

The Minnesota Department of Health has set up a COVID-19 public hotline open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The hotline number is 651-201-3920 or 1-800-657-3903.

testing

• CMH Raiter Clinic has a mobile testing site in the parking lot from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday, but a doctor's order is necessary before testing. Call 218-879-1271 to talk to a doctor. They will also accept orders from doctors outside CMH. The CMH Nurse Hotline is available 24/7 at 218-499-6799 for advice.

• FDL Human Services has a mobile testing site by appointment only at Min No Aya Win Human Services Center. Testing will be limited to those who are experiencing symptoms and who have had a telehealth visit with their Fond du Lac medical provider. Call 218-878-2120 to schedule a visit if you're having symptoms.

• MedExpress Urgent Care is providing COVID-19 testing at the clinic located at Pine Tree Plaza in Cloquet (by Super One). If you are seeking COVID-19 testing, visit http://www.medexpress.com/covid19 to review the CDC-based screening criteria prior to visiting. If you believe the screening criteria apply to you, call the local clinic at 218-878-7903. Hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

prevent

Everyone can work to reduce the spread of COVID-19

• Cover your coughs and sneezes with your elbow, sleeve or a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands afterwards.

• Wash 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 is at least 60 percent alcohol.

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

• Stay home if you have cold- or flu-like symptoms for seven days after your illness onset or three days after your fever resolves without fever-reducing medicine, and avoid close contact with people who are sick.

• Wear a cloth face covering (mask) in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies).

• Wearing a mask does not protect you from others who may spread the virus. So, whether or not you wear a mask, you still need to wash your hands frequently, cover your cough, and practice social distancing by keeping at least 6 feet of space between people.

• People who are sick should still stay home. Wearing a mask does not mean people who are sick should go out into the community. If you are sick and need to go to the doctor, call your health care provider before going in, and wear a mask to the clinic.

mental help

• State officials are encouraging teachers, students and anyone struggling with mental health to text "MN" to 741741.

Peer-to-peer telephone support is available from Wellness in the Woods at 1-844-739-6369 from 5 p.m. to 9 a.m. daily.

• Mental Health Minnesota is staffed by volunteer support 5-10 p.m. Monday through Saturday at 651-288-0400.

• The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline phone number is 1-800-273-8255.

• The Salvation Army Northern Division has an Emotional and Spiritual Care Hotline at 877-220-4195, which operates seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Trained Salvation Army officers, employees and volunteers will be available to talk, listen, comfort, and pray for individuals, families and situations.

• A statewide crisis hotline called Day One helps people suffering from domestic abuse at home. Call 866-223-1111 or text 612-399-9995.

• The American Indian Community Housing Organization (AICHO) Dabinoo'igan Emergency Domestic Violence Shelter at 218-722-2247.

• The Center Against Sexual and Domestic Abuse (CASDA) in Superior at 715-392-3136.

• Safe Haven Shelter & Resource Center in Duluth at 218-728-6481.

• Family Pathways, otherwise known as Refuge Network, at crisis line 800-338-7233.

• The Fond du Lac social services advocacy program crisis line, 218-348-1817, is answered 24 hours a day, and staff can assist with reporting a crime to law enforcement, providing orders for protection and harassment orders, obtaining available community resources, and providing support.

 
 

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