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It’s not over

Area COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations rising

Staff photo by Fritz Busch Brown County Public Health supervisor Sue Klossner prepares a COVID-19 vaccine in the Brown County Public Health office, 1117 Center. COVID vaccines are available at the Public Health Office, pharmacies and medical providers in Brown County.

NEW ULM — A recent surge in lab-confirmed positive COVID-19 cases has increased the Brown County COVID-19 community level from low to medium Friday, according to a Brown County Public Health press release.

“It’s really easy for all of us to hope COVID-19 is not spreading, but that is not the case,” said Brown County Public Health Director Karen Moritz. “COVID-19 is increasing. It can still cause significant illness and hospitalization. Vaccines work and are available. If people have symptoms, they should test themselves and notify those they have close contact with.”

Moritz urged the public to call Brown County Public Health at 233-6820 if they have questions on isolation and quarantine.

Community levels changed based on COVID-19 hospital admissions, hospital beds used for COVID-19 hospital patients, and the total number of COVID-19 cases in an area.

A check with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed similar community level changes in Nicollet, McLeod, Lyon, Lincoln and Yellow Medicine Counties.

Additional prevention step recommendations include:

• Talking with your health-care provider to determine what precautions to take if you are immunocompromised or at high risk for severe illness.

• Providers can counsel you on whether you need to wear a mask in public.

• Staying up-to-date with COVID-19 vaccines is a prevention step that should be taken at all community levels.

• Everyone older than 5 should get a primary series of COVID-19 vaccinations and a booster dose.

• A second booster dose can be given for those ages 50 and older or those with certain immunocompromising conditions.

• Get tested for COVID-19 if you are experiencing symptoms or have had close contact with someone with COVID-19.

• Testing remains available with an at-home rapid test kit or at your local clinic or pharmacy.

• The federal government recently added a third round of free, at-home test kits for each household. Kits can be ordered at covidtests.gov.

• Minnesota residents also eligible for additional at-home test kits can be ordered at www.sayyeshometest.org.

COVID-19 community levels are updated each Thursday night at .cdc.gov.

According to the CDC, 68.7% of the Brown County population has at least one dose and 66.1% are fully vaccinated.

To schedule a vaccine appointment, contact Brown County Public Health ar 507-233-6820 or online at co.brown.mn.us/covidvaccine. COVID vaccines are also available at pharmacies and medical providers throughout the county.

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

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