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COVID-19 cases in Martin County reach 8

FAIRMONT — The number of COVID-19 cases in Martin County has reached eight, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.

Of those, two involve people in their 50s, two in their 60s, one in their 70s and one in their late 80s. Two cases involve younger members of the population, with one person in their late 30s and another in their mid-20s.

Six of the Martin County cases are recovering at home, while two are hospitalized. Only one case is related to travel, while all other cases are due to community spread.

As for surrounding counties, Faribault and Watonwan counties have zero positive cases, while Blue Earth County has five and Jackson County has one.

Also as of Monday, the total number of positive cases in Minnesota stands at 235, with one death in Ramsey County. According to the MDH, the death occurred March 19 and involved a Ramsey County resident in their 80s who recently tested positive for COVID-19 and was a contact of an earlier confirmed case.

In a press release, Gov. Tim Walz offered his condolences to the family.

“Gwen and I extend our deepest sympathies to the loved ones during this time of loss,” he said. “As COVID-19 continues to spread in Minnesota, we must all do what we can to keep each other safe.”

Minnesota Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm said in a press release that the death underscores the importance of protecting the most vulnerable Minnesotans during the outbreak. These are people older than 65 and those with underlying health conditions.

“We’ve all seen reports of outbreak-related deaths in other states and countries, but this Minnesota death reminds us how important it is to continue working to protect each other during this outbreak,” she said.

Martin County officials — from Mayo Clinic Health System and Community Health services, to the Sheriff’s Office and community mayors — have asked county residents to self-quarantine, stating in a letter that positive COVID-19 cases in the county have risen at a concerning rate. The county has the highest number of positive cases in the nine-county region, with most due to community spread.

Officials state that social distancing is absolutely vital to slowing the spread. This means avoiding public places and only going out for essentials; avoiding family and public gatherings; and staying 6 feet away from anyone with whom you do not live.

Again, people are reminded to cover coughs and sneezes with an elbow, sleeve or tissue; and wash their hands immediately afterward. In addition, hand washing should be done with soap and water for 20 seconds, or with an alcohol-based sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol; face touching should be avoided; and those with cold or flu-like symptoms should stay at home.

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