A lab-confirmed case of COVID-19 has been confirmed by the Minnesota Department of Health in a member of the Heart of the Lakes Elementary school community with exposure dates of Sept. 14-15, according to news releases from Perham Public Schools.

According to the release, the school has worked with the state Health Department and Otter Tail County Public to identify those who have had close contact with the case, and have communicated with them individually. The risk of exposure for other individuals present in the building on that date is no greater than the risk of contracting the virus in the general community.

"We are not changing from in-person learning at the Heart of the Lakes due to this," Superintendent Mitch Anderson said in an email to the Focus. "The elementary has done a great job of keeping classrooms by themselves throughout the day. PE, lunch and recess are all being conducted by individual class to prevent cross-grouping."

According to Heart of the Lakes Elementary principal Liz Johnson, only the students who were in direct close contact are being affected by this positive case.

Those who were not identified to have close contact with the positive case should still monitor for symptoms of illness but do not need to stay home unless symptoms develop, according to the release. If symptoms develop, stay home and consult with a physician to determine if a medical evaluation is needed.

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According to the release, the school has taken action to cleans and sanitize the facility and is working closely with the state Health Department to monitor the situation.

According to the release, the school is asking all members of the community to minimize the spread of illness by taking the following actions:

  • Protect yourself and others by wearing a face-covering when it is hard to stay six feet away from people, washing hands often with soap and water, covering coughs and sneezes, and avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.

  • If sick stay home from child care and other activities.

  • Be prepared in case of sickness and need to stay home. Keep enough food, regular prescription drugs, and other necessities on hand in case needed to stay home and going out is not easy.

  • Frequently clean all commonly touched surfaces; e.g., telephones, doorknobs, countertops, etc.

Those who start experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, the state recommends:

  • Stay at home for at least 10 days, and for 24 hours with no fever, without the use of fo fever-reducing medicine, and improvement of other symptoms.

  • Use the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website on how to care for someone with COVID.

  • Household contacts who were exposed to those who have symptoms, they should try to stay home as much as possible for 14 days.

“This is a challenging time and I know many of you may be feeling stress or anxiety,” Superintendent Mitch Anderson said in the release. “We will get through this together as a community, and will be stronger when we emerge.”