Officials confirm first Jackson County novel coronavirus case

Sat 3-21-2020

JACKSON - The Minnesota Department of Health Saturday afternoon confirmed a presumptive case of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Jackson County.

COVID-19 test results from the MDH Public Health Laboratory are considered presumptive, or tentative, until the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has done additional testing. Minnesota health officials consider presumptive results actionable.

The most recent case is a person in their 40’s of Jackson County who has a travel history. The patient developed mild symptoms earlier this week and sought health care.

Samples were collected and sent for testing where it was determined to be a positive case. Similar to Minnesota’s previous presumptive cases, samples have been sent to CDC for confirmatory testing.

"The resident is currently isolated at home," said Kelsey Andrews, Des Moines Valley Health and Human Services Public Health Director. "We are working with health officials from the Minnesota Department of Health to evaluate where this person has traveled and who they might have come in contact with. People identified will be asked to quarantine themselves for 14 days from their exposure date and will be monitored for fever and respiratory symptoms.

"Des Moines Valley Health and Human Services has a strong public health and emergency preparedness team to keep our residents safe and healthy," Andrews continued. "We are working collaboratively with local, state, and national agencies and we are better prepared to monitor and contain this outbreak."

Since the outbreak was first reported in December 2019, there have been near 287,000 cases and12,000 deaths reported in countries around the world.

That total includes almost 20,000 U.S. cases and 260 deaths.

In Minnesota, there have been 138 laboratory confirmed case, and one death at this time. Jackson County has one lab confirmed case at this time.

In a majority of cases, COVID-19 causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.

According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to recover. Health officials recommend individuals and families make a plan in case someone gets sick. They also suggest following the same steps for avoiding the flu:

  • Stay home and away from others if you are sick.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with your elbow or a tissue.
  • Wash your hands frequently for 20 seconds with soap and water.
  • Avoid touching your face throughout the day.

MDH has set up a public hotline that can be called daily, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The hotline number is 651-201-3920. Any person can call this number with questions about COVID-19.