The first case of COVID-19 has been reported in Koochiching County.

Koochiching County Public Health and Human Services confirmed late Wednesday the first case of a positive test for COVID-19 in the county.

The Minnesota Department of Health is identifying and contacting anyone who has been in close contact with the positive case. Due to patient privacy laws, Koochiching County will not release the name of the person, or where the individual resides in the county.

More information about where the person who tested positive may have been exposed to the virus may be released following a state review of the case.

“Public Health and Emergency Management are working together with our local, state, and federal partners to respond to this outbreak," said Derek Foss, Koochiching County Public Health supervisor. "We have a strong team and are doing everything we can to help keep the residents of Koochiching County safe and healthy."

A Facebook post by Rainy Lake Medical Center officials said, "RLMC continues to work closely with our county, as well as regional and state partners, to coordinate, prepare and implement a response, in the event that we should see a surge of COVID-19 patients in our area.

"For now, we cannot stress this enough that people should continue to stay home as much as possible. Wash your hands, don't touch your face and cover all coughs. We will get through this together. Do your part."

International Falls Mayor Harley Droba said Thursday the confirmed case shouldn't change city plans.

"Because we have put precautions in place with the understanding that a case would present itself, we will continue to follow and assess the emergency plan we have in place," Droba said. "All city departments are ready to continue the mission of providing essential services to the residents of International Falls."

Koochiching County Board Chair Kevin Adee Wednesday expressed his appreciation to the county Emergency Management Team for its efforts preparing Koochiching County and its residents for the COVID-19 pandemic. He also thanked the community for its "understanding and patience as we work together to deal with this situation the best that we can to keep our residents safe and healthy."

"By cooperating with local, state and national agencies we will be able to monitor the outbreak," officials said in a news release. "By working together, we will overcome this pandemic and Koochiching County will remain a safe place to live and work."

In most cases COVID-19 causes mild to moderate symptoms. These include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. For certain individuals, especially those who are older and have underlying health problems, there can be severe complications.

Symptoms of COVID-19 can last about two weeks for those with mild illness and up to six weeks for those with more severe illness. It is recommended that households have a plan in place to be prepared if someone from their household gets sick.

Follow the recommendations of the CDC and MDH to protect yourself in this uncertain time.

  • Practice social distancing
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes
  • Wash your hands often with soap for 20 seconds
  • Avoid touching your face

If you have questions, MDH has a COVID-19 hotline (651) 201-3920

Accurate and reliable information can be found at:

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