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Brown County case investigations down from November

No Christmas spike yet

BROWN COUNTY — Brown County Public Health (BCPH) Supervisor Jaime Brand said Friday that December case investigations were about half of what they were in November.

“We completed 1,081 case investigations in November, and 534 in December,” Brand said. “Our numbers began to decrease after Nov. 20 when Gov. Walz put more restrictions in place.”

“We pleasantly surprised we didn’t see a Christmas holiday (case) surge yet. That’s more good news,” said Brand. “We’re continuing to see lower numbers, averaging six to 12 new (COVID-19) cases a day.”

On Jan. 8, the BCPH COVID-19 update included 10 new cases including nine new, laboratory-confirmed cases and one probable case. Those with cases ranged in age from their 20s to their 80s. One additional death of a Brown County resident was reported between age 85-89.

There were 56 active cases/in isolation, 34 COVID-19-related deaths and 2,074 total confirmed cases.

Brand said there is a lot going on now as BCPH moves into the (COVID-19) vaccination phase.

“We started distributing vaccines to Phase 1, Priority Group 1,” said Brand. “We continue to receive weekly vaccines. Amounts vary each week.”

She urged the public to be patient with the vaccine distribution process.

“We have a priority-phased, group approach from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). We’ll get new information out as soon as (vaccination) groups are eligible,” said Brand. “We’re in the planning process for all phases now. We’re waiting for MDH guidance on Phase 1B, for essential workers and those age 75 and older. It’s a very large part of our population.”

On Monday, Jan. 11, the dials will be cautiously adjusted for businesses and some activities to reopen with limited capacity.

Wearing face masks, six feet social distancing, limiting gatherings outside immediate family, and frequent hand washing will continue to be required.

Those with any COVID-19 symptoms should stay home and get testing to keep the pandemic at a manageable level, because businesses, schools and healthcare facilities depend on it, read a BCPH Facebook post.

Loosened restrictions effective Jan. 11 include:

• Indoor dining at 50% capacity, up to 150 people. No food service after 10 p.m.

• Indoor entertainment, 25% capacity, up to 150 people.

• Small, social gatherings limited to two households indoors, 10 people maximum; three households, 15 people maximum outdoors. Masks strongly encouraged, social distancing must be maintained.

• Critical businesses must telework if possible and have a COVID-19 preparedness plan.

• Places of worship, religious services, weddings and funerals remain open at 50% capacity. Virtual services only strongly recommended.

• For more information, visit mn.gov/covid19. Chat with the COVID-19 bot.

(Fritz Busch can be emailed at fbusch@nujournal.com).

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