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Carlton County Covid-19 numbers at record highs

Public health offers suggestions for trying to slow transmission

 

November 6, 2020

While it was notable last week when Covid-19 cases broke a record when they jumped by 21 cases in a day, that was just the beginning.

Multiple single-day records have been set in the county since then, and overall cases rose from 483 on Oct. 28, to 679 on Wednesday, Nov. 4, an increase of 196 cases in seven days. From Tuesday to Wednesday of this week alone, the numbers jumped by 50.

The state also tracks Covid cases weekly by zip code, with results released every Thursday. By zip code, Cloquet was up to 209 cumulative cases on Oct. 29, a jump of 43 from the Oct. 22 report. Positive cases for the Carlton zip code jumped from 31 to 44, while Esko increased from 67 to 89, Cromwell 12 to 18 cases, Barnum from 35 to 44 and Moose Lake from 63 to 67 over the same time period.

"The number of cases is at an all-time high in our community, and all indications are that it is only going to get worse," Dr. Charles Kendall said, recommending that people wear masks, keep their distance and wash hands. "We have found that if we follow guidelines, we greatly decrease the risk of transmitting the disease."

Along with the spike in cases, Carlton County also posted two more deaths this week, bringing the total to five.

The county also had its third death from the virus - of a person between 85 and 89 years old - reported on Nov. 3, following a second Covid death last week.

Evergreen Knoll, New Perspective, Sunnyside Health Care Center and Inter-Faith Care Center are on the list of Carlton County senior living facilities that had or have Covid-19 exposure.

Carlton County Public Health sent out a notice earlier this week, warning residents of the rise in infections and asking people to curtail their activities and follow social distancing guidelines.

Here are some of their suggestions:

• As much as possible use virtual means of communication, and digital means of ordering supplies

and/or food.

• Wear a mask or face covering when you are in a public setting or with people who are not in

your own household, this includes private social gatherings.

• If possible limit the amount of time you spend in close proximity to people outside of your

household, to less than 15 minutes.

• Keep a minimum of 6 feet distance from others who are not in your household; it's okay to tell

someone that you want to keep a safer distance while interacting.

• Outdoor meetings or gatherings are safer than indoor, but could also pose a risk of COVID-19

transmission; keep your interactions brief, spaced apart, in small numbers and wear a mask.

• Clean your hands frequently with soap and water, or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

• If you were in close contact with someone who is positive for COVID-19, stay home and away

from others for 14 days from your last contact with that person, watch for symptoms of COVID19, and consider testing 5-7 days after that exposure.

• If you have symptoms of COVID-19, contact your healthcare provider about testing, or set up a

test at a community testing site, and avoid close contact with others by staying home (except for

seeking medical care).

• If you are awaiting COVID-19 test results, stay home and avoid contact with others until you are

notified of your test, then follow medical guidelines given with your test results

• Make a list of the people with whom you were in close contact 48 hours prior to your symptoms

starting, and notify them as soon as possible if you are COVID-19 positive. They will need to

quarantine for 14 days from their last contact with you."

Thanksgiving/holiday/school break:

Fall and winter holiday breaks often include large gatherings of families and friends, crowded parties,

and travel that may put people at increased risk for COVID-19. We know that these times together are

really important, but in an ongoing pandemic with widespread transmission, the safest option right now

is for everyone to stay home. This helps protect family, friends, and even communities.

• Remember that:

o Anytime you gather with people you do not live with; the risk of infection increases for

everyone.

o Even people without symptoms can spread the virus.

o Having or attending an in-person gathering may encourage people in high-risk groups

(particularly older adults and people with underlying health conditions) or ill individuals to

attend rather than stay at home.

• How do you stay on campus or at home and still celebrate the holidays?

o Have a virtual holiday celebration with your family and friends.

▪ Still do all the decorating and make all the food, then show it off to your loved-ones.

▪ Play trivia or other games over a virtual gathering.

o Plan a dinner with the people who live with you. If you are in a dorm and don't have access

to a kitchen, check out local grocery stores or restaurants where you can order a

Thanksgiving dinner for takeout.

o Don't go to bars or parties with your friends unless you know that social distancing and

capacity limits will be followed. Crowds and drinking have been associated with outbreaks of

COVID-19.

• How do you gather in-person in a way that slows transmission?

o Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms (cough, fever, shortness of breath, etc.) or who has been

exposed to COVID-19 in the last 14 days should not attend – no matter what.

o Before the gathering, establish the expectation that everyone wears a mask. Consider

getting your guests holiday-themed masks as a party favor and encourage everyone to wear

a mask until it is time to eat.

o Keep the gathering small – the fewer, the better, but definitely no more than 10. Write

down the guest list in case someone tests positive afterward.

o Arrange your furniture so it is easy for people to stay 6 feet apart.

o Choose activities that you can do while still staying far apart and wearing masks.

Traveling

If you are thinking about traveling away from campus or your local community during the break, it is

important to take steps to slow the spread of COVID-19. Traveling can put people at greater risk of

getting sick.

Before you travel, consider:

• How much COVID-19 is spreading where you are going and how much it is spreading on campus

or in your local community.

• Whether you, someone you are traveling with, or someone you are visiting are at higher risk for

severe illness from COVID-19.

• How easy or difficult it will be to keep 6 feet between people.

• Whether you would be able to miss work, school, or other activities if you get sick.

• Laying low before you go. Plan to stay at home and interact only with the people in your

household for at least 14 days. If you have been exposed to COVID-19 and don't know it, this will

help ensure that you don't spread it when you travel or to your loved ones when you visit.

If you decide to travel, follow these recommendations to help protect yourself and others from COVID19:

• Take safety precautions when gathering. Limit interactions to small groups (ideally less than 5),

and gather outdoors whenever possible.

• Stay 6 feet away from anyone you do not live with, and wear a mask. Wash your hands or use

hand sanitizer often.

• Avoid high-risk situations like crowded bars, events, parties, or other situations that would put

you at risk of contracting COVID-19.

• Watch for symptoms, get tested if you develop symptoms, and stay home and away from others

if you become sick.

• Minnesota does not require travelers to stay home/away from others (quarantine) for 14 days

after coming back from another state. However, some colleges and universities require

quarantine after travel. Learn your school's rules and protocols and plan accordingly.

Editor's note: This is an expanded version of the print story that ran in this week's paper. Track Covid cases here and across the state here: https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/situation.html

 
 

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