Olmsted County held a meeting and press conference on COVID-19 (Coronavirus). In attendance was Graham Briggs, the Olmsted County Public Health Director, Dr. Pritish Tosh, an infectious disease specialist at Mayo Clinic, and Dr. Steve Adamson, an infection control specialist at Olmsted Medical Group. All of these people are members of the Joint Information Communication (JIC) committee. Information on COVID-19 will come from the JIC committee so that that messages and news on COVID-19 will be accurate and consistent.
What are we doing?
The County has been hosting an emergency preparedness group for twenty years. It meets at least four times each year and prepares for community medical emergencies. Olmsted is prepared to deal with large-scale COVID-19 outbreaks if it should occur. At this time there is one case of COVID-19 in Minnesota; and elderly woman who is recovering in isolation. The emergency preparedness group has a long history of working together and will continue to coordinate Health preparedness and responses.
Minnesota now has the capability to start testing for COVID-19. Any positive test results are reported to Public Health so that an appropriate response can be initiated. A physician must determine of a person should be tested.
The world wide spread of COVID-19 has prompted the planning team to prepare for an outbreak in Minnesota and in Olmsted County.
When will COVID-19 show up in Olmsted County?
The spread of COVID-19 has many factors. Public Health officials will say that there is an increased likelihood of the disease showing up in Olmsted. However, it cannot be predicted when COVID-19 will reach Olmsted.
What May happen if COVID-19 is found in Olmsted?
People should take normal precautions just they already do for colds and flu. Stay home if you are sick. Wash your hands regularly (wash for at least 20 seconds with soap). Please may be encouraged to work from home if that is possible.
It is a normal procedure for Public Health to close schools to stop the spread of infectious diseases. Public Events may be canceled. All of the actions would go through JIC group and communicated with the community.
What preparation can you take?
Wash your hands is still the best way to help yourself and others. Cover your cough and sneezes. Take the same precautions as you would for avoiding the flu. The following websites will also provide you with more information.
What do we know?
- There is one known case of COVID-19 in Minnesota. There is no known cases in Olmsted County at this time.
- It appears that young adults and children have a diminished risk.
- Many cases of the disease are mild.
- We think that COVID-19 will be found in Minnesota and Olmsted County but we do not know when it will appear.
- The best individual defense for avoiding and containing the spread of disease is to wash your hands with soap and water.
- Older people with pre-existing conditions appear to be the most at risk.
Visit the following websites for more information:
- News Conference March 5, Olmsted county is prepared: https://kttc.com/2020/03/05/coronavirus-cases-on-the-rise-local-officials-provide-you-with-tips/
- This is the March 5 presentation by County Health, Mayo Clinic and Olmsted Medical: https://kttc.com/2020/03/05/rochester-leaders-health-experts-to-host-news-conferences-about-coronavirus/
- Here is the website for Olmsted County’s Public Health information on the COVID-19 virus: https://www.co.olmsted.mn.us/OCPHS/Pages/Wuhan-Coronavirus.aspx
- Here is the website for the Center for Disease Control: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html