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Otter Tail Public Health outlines steps on quarantining, isolation, testing

Otter Tail Public Health is reminding the community of the steps they can take to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

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With COVID-19 rapidly spreading in the communities , Otter Tail County Public Health would like to remind the community that they are here for the community and together the community can get through the pandemic, said a news release from Otter Tail County.

One way to continue to help is to stay informed as to what actions are needed to take if you are in close contact with someone with COVID-19 or are awaiting test results occurs. An isolation and quarantine calculator can be found at ottertailcountymn.us/covid19-calculator .

Close Contact

Close contact is someone that has been within six feet of a person with COVID-19, for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more per day, during their infectious period. The infectious period is two days before a person’s symptoms started or two days before their test date if they did not have symptoms. If a close contact occurs, quarantining for 14 days after the last day of contact is necessary.


Quarantine is used to keep someone who has been identified as a close contact of a person with COVID-19 away from others to help stop the spread. A close contact will need to stay home and away from others from the time they last had contact with the positive person regardless of a negative test. People cannot test out of quarantine.


Isolating keeps someone who is infected with the virus away from others, including those in their home. People in isolation should stay home until it is safe for them to be around others. Isolation is necessary until all the following are true:


  • Feeling better. Symptoms of COVID-19 are improving and;
  • It has been at least 10 days since you first felt sick; and;
  • There has been no fever for the last 24 hours without using medicine that lowers fever.

When self-isolating from others make sure to contact a health care provider if experiencing worsening or severe symptoms.


Individuals tested for COVID-19 should self-isolate by staying home and away from others, including those in the same household as much as possible, while waiting for test results. Households and close contacts should also limit their activities in public until the test results are available.

Negative test results

This means the tested person does not currently have COVID-19. However, they could still be exposed or become sick at any time and should continue to protect themself and others from COVID-19. If symptoms of COVID-19 develop, talk to a doctor or other health care provider about getting tested again. If tested because there was a deemed close contact of a positive case, continue with the recommended 14-day quarantine period, even if the test results are negative.

Positive test results

If the test results are positive isolate and separate from others who are not sick to avoid spreading the virus. Notify anyone that would be considered a close contact during the infectious period and remain home in isolation as described above. Minnesota Department of Health or local public health may not be able to reach those infected so please follow these guidelines. Use the calculator to determine when it is safe to return to work or school.

Otter Tail County Public Health asks that the community to continue to practice social distancing, avoid gatherings, wear a face covering, wash their hands, and be alert for symptoms. Thank you for keeping the community's families, friends, and neighbors healthy and safe.

For those who have questions, call Public Health at 218-998-8320, visit their website at ottertailcountymn.us or find them on social media. Many resources may be found on the MDH and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention websites.

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