While some area counties are remaining steady in the number of COVID-19 cases, Otter Tail County cases and positivity rates are showing an upward trend in recent weeks, according to Otter Tail County Public Health.
From March 16-23, Becker County had 35 additional positive cases; Hubbard County 5; Otter Tail County 89; Todd County 27 and Wadena County 13. From March 9-16, Becker County had 33 additional positive cases; Hubbard 5; Otter Tail 62; Todd 25 and Wadena 14.
Throughout March, Otter Tail County's number of additional cases per week has been in the 60s, according to information analyzed by the Detroit Lakes Tribune.
"Our day-to-day behaviors and interactions with others are having a direct impact on the spread of the virus and causing, yet again, an uptick in cases and positivity rates," Public Health said in a community letter.
The COVID-19 vaccine is available based on priority groups. Minnesota has opened vaccine access to people with preexisting conditions and front-line workers. People with sickle cell disease, Down Syndrome, oxygen-dependent chronic lung or heart conditions, and those in active cancer treatment or immunocompromised from organ transplant are eligible. Also, if you are 45 years old and above with at least one underlying condition or 16 years old and above with at least two conditions, you are in the priority group. The general public is not in the current priority group.
As vaccinations are working, helping protect others and yourself is important until more people have been vaccinated. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists several ways you can help: wear a mask, keep a social distance of 6 feet or more, wash your hands well and often and stay home and consider getting tested if you have COVID-19 symptoms or are a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
As of March 23, the Minnesota Department of Health reports the following cumulative positive cases of COVID-19:
- Becker County: 3,227 cases
- Hubbard County: 1,623
- Otter Tail County: 5,034
- Todd County: 2,556
- Wadena County: 1,349
Some patients who tested positive for COVID-19 may no longer need to be in isolation. As of March 18, Becker County had 3,113 cases not requiring isolation, Hubbard County 1,573, Otter Tail County 4,816, Todd County 2,474 and Wadena County 1,302.
Area counties saw zero additional deaths from COVID-19 and its complications from March 17-23.
The newly reported deaths statewide included seven people on March 23 with a total of 6,789 deaths from COVID-19 and its complications, according to MDH.
Want to know more about the history of vaccines in a children's graphic novel? Check out "A Shot in the Arm!" by Don Brown.
There is free COVID-19 saliva testing available at the Wadena Armory. The saliva test requires no eating, drinking or smoking for 30 minutes prior. Make sure to be well hydrated the night before or even the hours before your test. The site is open Mondays and Tuesdays from noon-6 p.m. Testing helps bring better understanding to the spread of the virus in the community.
For mental wellbeing, Otter Tail County encourages purposeful self-care activities such as resting, taking a walk, reading, being creative, doing yoga or talking to a friend over video chat or phone.
Lakewood Health System COVID-19 website: www.lakewoodhealthsystem.com/coronaviruscovid-19/ or 218-894-1515
Perham Health COVID-19 website: www.perhamhealth.org/covid19/ or 218-347-4500
Tri-County Health Care COVID-19 website: www.tchc.org/coronavirus or 218-631-3510
Minnesota Department of Health COVID-19 hotline: 651-201-3920 or 1-800-657-3903, which is available seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Minnesota Department of Health COVID-19 website: www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/index.html