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Be part of the response – Slowing the curve of COVID-19 in Minnesota

COVID 19 is on the minds of nearly everyone. We are bombarded by information about the disease and it is every ever changing. Right now the disease is spreading around the world, in the US and in Minnesota.

COVID 19 is a respiratory illness that is characterized by fever, cough, and shortness of breath. It is a novel or new virus that we have not been exposed to in the past. In the majority of cases it is a mild illness but in some people the disease becomes serious and causes death.

Because this is a “novel” virus the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control, Minnesota Department of Health, along with the Brown County Public Health Department have strong recommendation measures to slow the spread of the illness. It is unknown how fast it will spread and how long it will last.

Brown County Public Health would like to make sure that the public is aware of the things the federal, state, and local health departments recommend to slow the spread of the illness as well as the prevention strategies that the governor has done by executive order.

At this time the Minnesota Department of Health is working in areas of containment and community mitigation.

Preventing the spread

• STAY HOME if you are sick

• Cover your cough or sneeze

• Wash your hands often and for at least 20 seconds

• Avoid touching your face or mouth with unwashed hands

• If you are over the age of 70 or have underlying health problems the recommendation is that you avoid any activities that involve more than 10 people and take care to keep a 6 foot space between you and others. At this time the elderly and those with underlying health conditions are at the greatest risk of serious illness.

The health department is also recommending that events or gatherings of 50 people or more are either cancelled or postponed. This includes conferences, concerts, professional and amateur performances or sporting events and any other event that would gather more than 50 people. Locally, many of those events are being cancelled.

If you have symptoms of COVID 19, please stay home and isolate yourself from others, rest, drink fluids, and use fever reducing medication. Do not go out into the community or to work or school for at least 7 days or 3 days after the fever is gone without fever reducing medication whichever is longer.

At this time testing for COVID 19 is only for hospitalized persons, ill healthcare workers, and people living in congregate living situations. Please DO NOT go into the clinic for evaluation unless you are seriously ill and feel you need medical care. If you do need medical attention please check your clinic’s website to see if there is an opportunity to complete a survey to be considered for a virtual visit, otherwise call ahead so you can receive instructions of where to present to the clinic so you do not expose others.

The Governor has issues issued executive orders to close schools until March 27 for a planning period and has closed all bars and restaurants and other recreational venues until March 27th as well. You can find the details of the executive orders at the State of Minnesota reference library https://www.leg.state.mn.us/lrl/execorders/eoresults?gov=44&title=&number=&ft=

The President of the United States has also issued a plan for the next 15 days that includes community mitigation – you can find that a https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/03.16.20_coronavirus-guidance_8.5x11_315PM.pdft

All of these measures are being put into place to slow the spread of the disease and protect the people that might get seriously ill with it.

Public Health urges everyone to follow these recommendations and take them seriously. If you have questions only use reputable sources such as:

• CDC website (www.cdc.gov)

• Minnesota Department of Health website (www.health.state.mn.us)

There is a lot of information out there and these are the sources of accurate information. Your healthcare provider clinic website is also a good source of information. Please use the information as a resource to help find the answer to your questions. If you still have questions then you can call the MDH hotline at 651-201-3920.

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