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Officials: Martin County has 2 COVID-19 cases

FAIRMONT — The Minnesota Department of Health has confirmed two presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in Martin County.

One involves an individual in their 60s and the other in their 50s.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, a presumptive positive case means a patient has tested positive by a local health laboratory, but results are still pending confirmation at a CDC lab.

Martin County Public Health sanitarian Tim Langer confirmed the presumptive cases, saying the individuals are hospitalized. Langer noted that the news is not altogether unexpected.

“We’ve been planning for this for weeks now,” he said. “We started our incident command about three weeks ago and have been closely monitoring the MDH and CDC, and we’re following the governor’s rules. As far as an agency, I inspect the restaurants and have been fielding calls from them and the public, trying to get the word out on this so people are aware it is here.

“The key at this point is to take the governor’s requirements seriously, wash their hands, practice social distancing and take all the precautions we’ve been talking about. People can also check out our Facebook page. We are providing up-to-date information there every day.”

Langer reminds the public that vigilance is key, but not to the point of panic.

Langer added that testing is not as good as it should be and it is possible there may be unknown people who already have had mild cases.

“People also need to be aware that 80 percent of the cases are mild, but for the elderly and people who have some underlying conditions it can be very serious,” he said. “When you close schools, the intention behind that is to prevent the spread. Kids are doing very well with this, but what we don’t want is for folks to be cavalier about this.

“Even if you have a mild case, we want you to see a physician and isolate for 14 days so we’re not spreading this to the folks that could really be harmed by this. That’s the elderly, folks with diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema, immune-compromised and things like that. Those folks need to really be careful with what they’re doing and where they’re going.”

As far as taking extra precautions when going out in public, such as necessary grocery shopping, Langer stressed the importance of social distancing.

“Grocery stores are going to remain open because they’re essential, but I would recommend that if you’re in that high-risk category you should see if there’s a way to get those items delivered to you so you’re not exposed to other people in those areas,” he said. “It’s important to start looking at isolation for all of us, but especially if you’re in one of those high-risk groups.

“We’ll be working with our partners to address this and we’ll provide education to the public. We’ll provide information as needed, and encourage people to practice those safe practices of hand-washing, social distancing and covering your cough.”

The MDH website can be found at www.health.state.mn.us and people can search Facebook for Community Health and Human Services of Faribault and Martin County.

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