Eleven new cases announced, evidence of community spread confirmed
Eleven new confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been announced in St. Louis County, Wednesday, bringing the total number of cases to date to 28. At least two of the new cases are currently hospitalized. They include a man in his early 70s and a woman in her late 80s. The nine remaining cases include: four women in their mid to late 70s, two women in their mid 90s, a man in his late 80s, a man in his mid 40s, and a woman in her mid 60s.
A large percentage of these new cases are linked to St. Ann’s Residence, an assisted living facility in Duluth. St. Louis County Public Health, along with the Minnesota Department of Health and area health care partners are working with St. Ann’s staff to assist them with infection control recommendations, surge capacity, and supplies
“These are the kind of situations we’ve been preparing for, but it is still concerning, and a grim reminder of the seriousness of COVID-19, and how quickly it can spread” said Amy Westbrook, St. Louis County Public Health division director.
Additionally, County Public Health is now warning that the virus is likely being spread by community transmission.
“Community transmission means we cannot identify the source from which a person has caught the infection,” said Westbrook. “We have seen several cases this week that do not appear to be linked to travel, nor are they linked to previously confirmed case.”
With this evidence of community transmission, it is more important than ever that everyone continue to do those things that can reduce the spread of the virus and protect our most vulnerable people:
- Obey the Governor’s executive orders to stay at home and practice social distancing if you do need to go out for groceries or other essential travel
- Stay home and avoid even essential travel if sick
- Wash hands frequently with soap and water or use hand sanitizer
- Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your elbow
- Avoid touching mouth and face
- Practice general good health behaviors, including staying hydrated and well-rested
Anyone with clinical questions about the COVID-19 virus, such as identifying symptoms or whether testing is needed, can call Essentia Health at 1-833-494-0836; or St. Luke’s at 218-249-4200. Non-clinical questions, such as preventative steps to take or anything travel-related, can be directed to the St. Louis County Public Health information line ator the Minnesota Department of Health at 651-201-3920.