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Otter Tail not out of the woods regarding COVID-19

Jody LienTW.jpg
Jody Lien, Otter Tail County Public Health director

County Public Health Director Jody Lien cautioned county commissioners during an online meeting Tuesday, June 30, about what now appears to be a likely rise in COVID-19 cases in July and August.

“We here in Otter Tail County are not immune from what’s happening in other areas, with a resurgence of the coronavirus in congested bars and restaurants,” Lien said.

She said many people in the county can do a better job with social distancing, wearing masks and practicing frequent hand washing.

Another concern of Lien and the five county commissioners is the influx of visitors to Otter Tail County during the summer months.

Commissioner Doug Huebsch of Perham says it’s logical that the COVID-19 risk increases when summer visitors travel to Otter Tail County from other states.

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“We need a collective call urging people of adhere to self-protection,” Lien said.

Through July 1 Otter Tail County had recorded 92 cases of people testing positive for COVID-19. Of those, 86 have recovered.

The county had one recorded death from the coronavirus. There have been eight hospitalizations and three cases of ICU (intensive care unit care). The average age of COVID-19 positive cases in Otter Tail County is 38.

Minnesota, as a whole, had recorded 35,896 confirmed cases though June 30 and 1,470 deaths.

“It’s our job at county public health to look at COVID-19 modeling, be in a state of readiness and keep a close watch on how the disease will likely progress,” Lien said.

COVID-19 testing is performed at Lake Region Healthcare in Fergus Falls, the Perham Health Clinic and Essentia in Pelican Rapids.

County Board Chairman Lee Rogness commended county nursing home providers who have, for the most part, kept COVID-19 out of their facilities.

“We commend staff members and others for their efforts in protecting the elderly at our county facilities,” Rogness said. “Their efforts prove that safe practices do indeed work for the well-being of all concerned.”

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Lien and county public health employees continue to educate Otter Tail County about the COVID-19 symptoms which should prompt people to get tested.

Symptoms include fever or chills, coughing, shortness of breath, difficulty in breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion and runny nose, nausea and vomiting and diarrhea.

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