By Teri Knight, News Director
Rice County Public Health was notified late yesterday by the Minnesota Department of Health of a lab-confirmed case of COVID-19 in Rice County. Limited information indicates the confirmed case is linked to recent international travel and was seen on an outpatient basis.Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) staff will be working with Rice County Public Health staff on follow-up. The full press release is on kymnradio.net. We also encourage the community to find our coronavirus/covid 19 links and resource page. We post fact-based information and local resources.
NH&C Underdahl discusses their response and offers advice
Northfield Hospital and Clinics CEO, Steve Underdahl, was on the air this morning. He addressed many items including the fact that the Minnesota Department of Health is the outlet for information on confirmed cases and they report by county only. While a lot of people are concerned, he says, “do the things that you know you need to do,so if you think you’ve been exposed, isolate yourself, monitor for symptoms, cough, fever over 100, trouble breathing and call us if you’re concerned”. NH&C has spent their time over the last couple of weeks, with an acceleration recently, is done their best to segregate those who are sick from those who are not so that they can protect both populations. He continued, “so what we don’t want is for people with chest pains staying at home not calling us because they think they don’t want to get exposed to some ugly virus. We want you to call us, we’re still doing urgent and emergency surgeries, we’re still delivering babies, we’re still doing all of those things that a community hospital and medical center needs to do”. What’s different is their call to call them before you come in unless of course you are having an emergency. Underdahl commented on the limited availability of test kits, the need to prioritize who gets tested and why, treatment plans for those who MAY have the coronavirus and more. The social distancing piece of the guidelines is paramount to slowing the spread, he said. They have closed their Express Clinic downtown to keep people from stopping in and to allow them to consolidate their resources. He wrapped up the interview, “I think this is a moment where either the better angels of our nature or the worst ones take over. So it’s a great opportunity to exercise your citizenship by sort of following the guidelines, nobody needs a whole basement of toilet paper, and it’s an opportunity to exercise some consideration and kindness. The other thing I’d ask people to think about is keep an eye on each other, not just for covid-19 but for emotional and mental health support” His full interview is HERE.
Nfld City leaders implement protocols to ensure essential services
Northfield City council met Tuesday night. The main item was their response to COVID-19. Administrator Martig reiterated that they are following State and Federal guidelines related to the spread of the disease. He said, “we’ve been in communication with other healthcare professionals as well and working to implement those, has really been an effort”. Martig said drinking water and wastewater treatment are essential and they are working to ensure the health of those employees while also, “looking at things like how do we ensure that, if somebody gets sick, that somebody else can be there to fill in. And so we’re looking at things like who can work remotely, we’re implementing shift changes. We’re extremely confident that we can deliver very safe drinking water and we will continue to treat the wastewater”. There will be more lockdown on non-essential services. The DMV is an essential service but they have set up protocols. The Library is offering free online content as they are closed for now. The liquor store is open for now but they will be implementing some smart changes. As for the City’s role, Mayor Pownell said with the closing of bars and restaurants as well as other types of small businesses, they’re working on coordinating small business efforts with new legislation through the Small Business Administration. The Northfield Chamber of Commerce is working with the Northfield Economic Development Association. Chamber President Lisa Peterson will be coming in studio some time this week.
Nfld Schools deliver on childcare and nutrition
Healthcare workers and First Responders children from kindergarten to age 12 will have childcare available during Spring Break. Superintendent Matt Hillmann announced yesterday on KYMN. It will still be at Bridgewater but the hours will be from 7am to 5pm next week. The District served 100 grab and go meals yesterday for those children on free and reduced lunch. That program will also continue for Spring Break. Hillmann’s interview last night is HERE.
Rice Co. Courthouse access restricted
By order of Rice County Sheriff Troy Dunn, at 7:30 this morning, access to the Rice County Courthouse will be restricted. The courthouse is not being closed. However, only essential staff, officers of the courts and people with scheduled court hearings will be allowed into the Courthouse. The full press release is on our Coronavirus Covid-19 resource page.