Public Health Director Kathy McKay delivered the latest Covid-19 statistics for Clay County at their October 6 meeting. To date, Clay County has recorded 1578 positive cases with 41 deaths. Minnesota has a total of 104,000 confirmed positive Covid-19 cases with over 2000 deaths. McKay reported that her latest information indicates that seven county residents are currently hospitalized with one individual in intensive care. Sanford and Essential health care systems indicate they still have sufficient capacity to provide beds for Covid-19 patients requiring hospitalization.
Cheryl Sapp, Clay County Public Health Nurse, shared data about public Covid-19 testing in Moorhead, conducted from September 29 through October 1 at the Moorhead Armory. 1369 tests were conducted over the three days. 68 individuals tested positive. Sapp said, “People were very happy to have the opportunity to get tested on this side of the river.” Sapp encouraged county citizens to get their flu shots.
Clay County Nursing Director Jamie Hennen reported that the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) are focused on identifying asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic individuals in the community through testing events like the one held at the Moorhead Armory test site. She said that people exhibiting symptoms or who are identified as a close contact of a confirmed positive individual, are permitted to be tested at their health care provider. However, many asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic cases, who don’t qualify for testing at a health care center, will be found through community testing.
She explained the difference between isolation and quarantine as they relate to Covid-19. The Minnesota Department of Health follows CDC guidance which says that isolation keeps someone who is sick, or who has tested positive for Covid-19 without symptoms, away from others, even in their own home. A minimum of ten days of isolation is required and a 24-hour period must pass without fever or symptoms.
Quarantine keeps someone, who has been identified as a close contact of an individual with a confirmed case of Covid-19, away from others. Quarantined individuals are to stay home until 14 days after the last contact. The 14-day period is required because an exposed individual may become contagious during that time or be asymptomatic. A detailed explanation of quarantine/isolation may be found online at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus.
McKay announced that Moorhead has been pick as one of ten saliva testing sites in Minnesota. She said, “This is an additional opportunity for people to get tested.” The testing will be available until the end of the year with the possibility of an extension.
McKay concluded the Clay County Public Health report with a reminder to the public, “Wear a mask and maintain six feet distance. Those are the factors until there is a vaccine at some point.”