CDC image of coronavirus

McLeod County has its first confirmed case of COVID-19.

The case was confirmed by the Minnesota Department of Health Friday evening. MDH staff are investigating the case, and identifying close contacts. Unless hospitalized, positive cases are isolated at home to prevent the spread of the disease.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to this individual and their family,” said McLeod County Board Chair Joe Nagel. “While it was inevitable that McLeod County would receive confirmation of a COVID-19 diagnosis within our community, it still is difficult to see one of our own suffering. Please, do what you can to minimize your exposure to this dangerous virus. The county will continue to communicate with our citizens and be an accurate information point as this crisis continues to evolve”.

McLeod County Public Health will coordinate essential services — food, water, health care and so on — for those in isolation.

Hutchinson Health president Jim Lyons said Friday evening that he wishes the best for the person who contracted COVID-19 and his or her family, and for a speedy recovery.

“That’s the piece we need to focus on,” he said. “I have faith in Public Health’s ability to help the individual.”

He said Hutchinson Health is working under the assumption that COVID-19 is more widespread than testing shows, as there are limited resources.

Public Health urges the community to continue mitigation strategies to slow transmission of the disease and follow the stay at home order Gov. Tim Walz issued through 5 p.m., Friday, April 10. Lyons said it is important to continue practicing social distancing and good hygiene by washing hands and covering coughs and sneezes.

“Those things really make a difference,” he said. “These are good strategies not just for COVID-19, but all infectious diseases.”

Last week, health officials expected it would only be a matter of time until a case was confirmed in McLeod County. All surrounding counties had already seen a confirmed case.

On Friday evening, Meghan Mohs, interim director for McLeod County Health and Human Services, said there were likely other cases in the county, they just had not been confirmed. She said MDH had not indicated in its report if the individual was believed to have contracted COVID-19 locally or from travel.

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act limits how much information hospitals and state agencies can provide on patients. The patient’s location in McLeod County has not been released.

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