The first confirmed case of COVID-19 was reported in Morrison County April 18 by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). The resident is reportedly under the age of 30 and appeared to contract the virus through community transmission. They are currently being quarantined in their home.
Public Health Director Brad Vold briefed the county Board on the details, Tuesday.
“I did get a call Saturday afternoon from the Minnesota Department of Health at this point there is no requirement for Public Health to monitor, isolate or provide essential services to this individual,” he said.
The resident can contact Public Health at any time if they need support services and Vold said he expects they may require grocery delivery while they are under quarantine.
MDH is handling the entire investigation, he said, including looking into who the individual may have had contact with, however there are no requirements for those who had contact with the individual to be tested themselves.
“They don’t necessarily test everybody, as we know testing has been a big issue around this pandemic and it continues to be a challenge,” Vold said.
As of April 23, Minnesota tested over 50,000 people and confirmed 2,942 positive cases with 200 deaths. About half of those who tested positive no longer need to be in isolation.
CHI St. Gabriel’s Hospital Emergency Room is conducting the tests and at the time the individual was tested Vold said only those living or working in congregate living facilities, those hospitalized or health care workers were being tested.
Vold said that health care workers have been frustrated by the lack of testing since it impacts patient care and they’re worried about sending a positive case out into public with no way to test those who do not meet the criteria.
In a move that will likely put many at ease, Gov. Tim Walz announced Wednesday April 22, that in collaboration with the University of Minnesota and the Mayo Clinic, a new testing strategy is being implemented. The state hopes to isolate all confirmed cases, test all people with symptoms and expand public health services to track possible cases. The strategy will allow up to 20,000 tests to be completed each day.
Despite forward moving efforts the governor announced Thursday, that schools will remain closed for the rest of the school year.
In other business Tuesday, the Morrison County Board of Commissioners:
• Approved the airport task order #7 to request funds from the state as a 70% grant and a 30% loan to pay for the replacement of a fuel dispenser and engineering work to the runway;
• Authorized Social Services to apply for Sourcewell grants totaling $160,000 to support children and families through public health and education;
• Declared Morrison County as a county in a state of emergency due to a heavy snow and rain event March 29, which caused public property damage downing 65-70 power lines; and
• Approved $33,471.10 to be used from bond proceeds to pay for finishing the flooring in the Morrison County Government Building.
The next meeting of the Board is Tuesday, April 28, at 8:30 a.m. The meeting will be live streamed.