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Health official: Caution still needed on virus

FAIRMONT — Positive COVID-19 cases in Martin County seem to have slowed for now, with 17 days in June having zero new cases.

However, the spread has not ceased, as the month still saw 26 new cases as of Monday.

Tim Langer, Community Health sanitarian with Human Services of Faribault and Martin Counties, discussed the news.

“I think some of the measures that have been taken to slow the spread of this have been working,” he said. “I do think that cases have stabilized, but we are also seeing additional cases. We did go through a period of time where we did have zero cases for four to five days, but we are starting to see an uptick again. That may be associated with folks being out and about, and some of the businesses being open again and stuff like that. It’s hard to say.”

Langer hopes people will be careful as they attempt to resume normal daily activities.

“I think we are at a better place than we were a couple of months ago, but we need to keep it that way,” he said. “We do need to keep the economy rolling, there’s no doubt about that. But we ask that community members be smart about what they’re doing because this will continue to spread if not taken seriously.

“The bottom line is that this is going to be a long-term event,” he said. “I think our community members need to remain diligent to prevent the spread of the illness. We’re seeing high numbers of cases in states like Florida, Arizona, Georgia, California and several others where we’re seeing a rapid spread of this illness. What we’re seeing is that, when not taken seriously, this disease can get out of hand very quickly.”

As far as “being smart,” Langer said the most well-known efforts are still the best ones to implement.

“From a public health standpoint, I think it’s really important to protect the most vulnerable,” he said. “That includes the elderly and those with pre-existing health conditions.

“What we would like to stress, most importantly, is physical distancing. That is critical to the prevention of the spread, and that six-foot distance is critical. The CDC has recommended mask use, and hand-washing and good hygiene are critical as well.”

He also addressed the need for younger members of the population to be aware of their ability to spread the virus.

“Most younger people do well with this disease, but they’ve got to remember it’s not just about them,” he said. “They have parents, grandparents, friends and co-workers who can get this and have some severe outcomes.

“This is not over by any means, this is our new normal. Taking some common-sense measures, we can prevent the spread of this. But it’s going to take some effort by everybody.”

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