At an emergency meeting of the Hutchinson City Council Tuesday evening, council members decided not to proclaim a state of emergency. Hutchinson Police Chief Tom Gifferson said such a declaration could cause unwanted public anxiety.
“At this point there is no need for Hutchinson to declare a state of emergency,” said city administrator Matt Jaunich. “We're doing our best to keep both staff and the public up-to-date as much as we possibly can utilizing our social media and even our website.”
As of Tuesday night, there were 60 positive cases of COVID-19 in Minnesota with no confirmed cases in McLeod County.
“There is no need to cause widespread panic,” Gifferson said.
Jaunich said COVID-19 has a 2.3 percent fatality rate compared to the 0.1 percent fatality rate for the flu.
“There are no cases in town,” Jaunich said.
Gifferson said the city was doing well in terms of preparing for an outbreak, but he said it was a matter of when and not if Hutchinson has a case.
Hutchinson police are implementing new protocols for medical responses, including the use of screening questions to determine the likelihood of a COVID exposure. If there is one, his team won't respond but forward the call to another line for additional questions to determine if an ambulance is sent. If responders determine more is needed, his team will respond.
Hutchinson Fire Chief Mike Schumann said his team is taking similar steps to filter calls, and that the city is well prepared for COVID. High priority calls will be responded to as normal, but both want to limit officer exposure.
“The resources we need at this time, we're sitting good ” Gifferson said. “I think we're very well prepared, especially when you start to consider Hutch Health and their preparedness along with ours. I think we're sitting at a good place.”
He felt confident manufacturers such as 3M were able to meet supply demand.