Press release provided by Chisago County Public Health

In many industries throughout our community, there is cause for concern surrounding staff shortages. Many workers are being asked to stay home for at least 10-14 days if they themselves are infected with COVID-19, or they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive. This not only puts a strain on the individual(s) in isolation or quarantine, but the industries that these individuals work for.

In combination with the overwhelming number of COVID-19 patients, this is especially true and detrimental for our clinics and hospitals as the coronavirus continues to surge. In recent news, the Mayo Clinic shared serious concern regarding having enough health care workers to help patients given the influx in cases amongst their staff. School districts in the twin cities and across greater Minnesota have been forced to move to distance learning due to staffing shortages. Not only is this occurring across the nation and state of Minnesota, but also right here in Chisago County. Numerous local businesses have informed public health officials of employee shortages, as workers have been exposed to the virus and cannot return to work for 14 days.

Surprisingly, in many of these cases, the exposure to COVID-19 is not happening within our clinics, hospitals, schools, or local businesses. Instead, it’s happening through community transmission via social gatherings or any scenario where a large group of people are in close proximity for an extended period of time. It is the hope of public health officials that Governor Walz’s Executive Order 20-99 will help to mitigate these concerns by closing or pausing many industries where community spread has been especially prevalent. However, public health officials expect that even with mitigation, numbers will continue to rise, as recent data indicate infection rate and hospitalizations are rising. Governor Walz indicated that the moves we take now will hopefully minimize death and hospitalizations until a vaccine arrives and is available to the general population. Health care workers and vulnerable populations could even start being vaccinated before the end of the year.

While many are frustrated with the closure of local businesses, these protections throughout our state and local communities will hopefully allow for our critical industries and essential workers to stay healthy and at work where they’re needed most.

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