County board members, in coordination with County Public Health Director Jody Lien, on Wednesday, May 19, urged county residents to continue wearing their nonmedical face mask/cloth coverings and practice social distancing.
“Employees of county public health, me included, feel discouraged when we see people not following the public safety recommendations in response to COVID-19,” Lien said. “We all need to adhere to safe practices, especially in crowded conditions.”
Lien said that wearing masks is less critical when people are enjoying the great outdoors, when people are walking far apart from one another.
The county board, on the recommendation of Lien, passed a resolution urging county residents and visitors to wear mask/cloth coverings and practice social distancing when out in the public.
“It’s up to us in county government to educate the public and provide leadership,” Lien said.
County Commissioner John Lindquist of Dalton said he has seen inadequate use of masks and social distancing in big box stores.
“This needs to change, for the well being of county residents,” he said.
County Commissioner Doug Huebsch of Perham said that, in small establishments, employees who have the proper social distancing should not be expected to wear masks all eight hours of a given workday.
“Some people experience glasses fogging up, and for this reason and other reasons, common sense can and should prevail,” Huebsch said.
Commissioner Betty Murphy of Maine Township agreed with Huebsch. Proper decision-making should be the order of the day, she said, on when to wear masks and when not to wear facial coverings.
“At the same time, it’s the responsibility of county residents to play it safe and for people to follow not only county public health recommendations but also advice from the Centers for Disease Control,” Murphy added.
County Commissioner Wayne Johnson of Pelican Rapids said that although social distancing can be tough at times inside stores, “we all can do a better job of this.”
Adds County Board Chairman Lee Rogness of Fergus Falls, “The health and safety of everyone here in the county is at stake, as we move into the summer months. Wear masks when needed and always practice social distancing.”
Otter Tail County, through May 19, had a total of 51 people who had tested positive for COVID-19. These include lab-confirmed cases, according to Lien. Eighteen of those cases no longer require isolation, according to the county.
More information and assistance
- MDH COVID-19 hotline: 651-201-3920 or 800-657-3903. The hotline is available seven days a week, 7 a.m.-7 p.m.
- School and child care hotline: 651-297-1304 or 800-657-3504
COVID-19 discrimination hotline: 833-454-0148
- MDH COVID-19 website: www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/situation.html
- Otter Tail County Public Health is available to answer general questions regarding COVID-19 at 218-998-8320 or 888-349-2581, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
- Otter Tail County COVID-19 Health Information: ottertailcountymn.us/content-page/covid-19-health-information/