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Lake County COVID-19 Updates

For the most current updates on COVID-19 in Minnesota, US, and the World, as well as resources and recommendations for personal preparedness and care:

Minnesota Department of Health Website:
https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/index.html
Centers for Disease Control website:
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
World Health Organization website:
https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019


Stay Home MN artwork

Governor Walz Issues Statewide Stay at Home order
Posted by BJ Kohlstedt, Lake County Emergency Manager, March 25, 2020

In an effort to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 Coronavirus, Governor Walz has issued the following executive order directing Minnesotans to stay home; this order is now in effect. The order can be read in full here.

Silver Bay COVID-19 Update
Posted by BJ Kohlstedt, Lake County Emergency Manager, March 24, 2020

The City Council of Silver Bay held an Emergency Board Meeting on the evening of March 23, 2020. At the 6:00 p.m. meeting, the Board unanimously approved a resolution declaring a State of Emergency for conditions resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak.  In addition, the Board approved three resolutions as follows:
  1. Closing all Silver Bay offices to the public effective March 24, 2020 at 8:00 a.m. until further notice;
  2. Delegating authority to the Mayor and City Administrator to coordinate employee workforce scheduling on a case by case basis, when and where feasible during the emergency; and
  3. allowing city staff to utilize paid leave in certain circumstances during the emergency.

While city offices will be closed to the public, the city will remain open for business. Services will be provided to the community by phone, email, United States Postal Services, and the City Hall Dropbox.  The Liquor Store will be curbside pickup only and customers are to call 218-226-3106 to preorder. The Mary Mac is open for business purposes only. There are no changes to the airport. More information can be found on the City website at www.silverbay.com and via calling the office at (218) 226-4408.

Read the full press release here.


Lake County COVID-19 Update
Posted by Rich Sve, Lake County Board Chair, March 16, 2020

In response to Governor Walz's announcements on March 13 and March 15, Lake County continues to work with Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and partners to support the health and wellbeing of our communities. This includes reminding us all that we are our own best defense against the transmission of COVID: wash our hands, cover our coughs, keep a social distance, and stay home when sick.

The situation is rapidly evolving and we’re updating our strategies to provide essential services, protect the health of our staff and emergency workers, and maintain economic stability.

Currently Lake County is open for essential business. The public is encouraged to conduct their business remotely rather than in person at County facilities. Please call 218-834-8300, use email, or use the dropboxes at the Two Harbors or Silver Bay Service Centers.

By closing schools, limiting exposures, and protecting our senior citizens, we are fighting back. Schools, businesses and governments are planning not only for education of our students, but also for parents to keep working, and to help cover expenses while caring for children or sick family members. We all need to share the challenges caused by these uncertain and trying times.

The MN Dept of Health (MDH) has set up a hot line for questions about COVID at 651-201-3920 or 800-657-3903 from 7AM to 7PM every day of the week. The MN Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) also has a hotline for questions about Governor Walz's orders at 651-297-1304 or 800-657-3504, also from 7AM to 7PM every day of the week.


Governor Walz  announces temporary closure of Minnesota K-12 public schools
MPR News,  March 14, 2020
https://www.mprnews.org/story/2020/03/14/walz-minnesota-schools-closed-covid19


Governor Walz declares a "Peacetime Emergency" to respond to COVID-19
MPR News, March 13, 2020
https://www.mprnews.org/story/2020/03/13/14-covid19-cases-now-in-mn-walz-to-unveil-new-control-measures


Will Coronavirus Come to Lake County?
Posted by BJ Kohlstedt, Lake County Emergency Manager, March 10, 2020

We’ve all been hearing a lot about “COVID-19,” the name for the respiratory disease caused by the novel Coronavirus that has spread to over 100 countries and sickened over 100,000 people worldwide (as of March 8). Since the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) reported the first case in Minnesota on March 6, can we expect the COVID-19 to visit Lake County? The short answer is that it’s likely.

COVID-19 is much like the respiratory virus influenza , but because it’s a new arrival, there is a lot we don’t know about how easily it spreads and how serious it can be. So far, we know it hits the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions the hardest.

The good news is that we are our own best protection against becoming sick with COVID-19. COVID-19 is spread by droplets from a sick person’s nose or mouth, often transferred by their coughs or sneezes. We all know that good handwashing is our best defense, along with keeping our hands away from our eyes, nose and mouth. Covering coughs with the inside of our elbow, staying a few feet away from sick people, and staying home from work when sick are also expected of us. If you do get flu-like symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath), be sure to call or chat with your medical provider online before showing up at the clinic or hospital.

In Minnesota, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) serves as the lead agency in monitoring and managing COVID-19. Their website at www.health.state.mn.us is the best place to get current information on the disease and how to protect yourself and your family. They also offer a COVID-19 hotline for public questions at 651-201-3920; it is open from 8am – 4:30pm Monday-Friday.

What will happen when the disease does reach Lake County? The MDH will interview each case and have the person isolate themselves (normally at home), track those who have been in contact with them, and recommend that those people stay at home in voluntary quarantine for two weeks. Lake County Public Health will provide essential services as needed (ie. providing food, medications, and transportation) to those in isolation or quarantine. Any important local updates can be found on the Lake County website at www.co.lake.mn.us and any urgent public messages would be sent out through “Lake County Emergency Alerts” (sign up on our website).

Should the outbreak progress to impact a larger number of people, MDH may recommend “Community Mitigation Interventions” like postponing community gatherings, encouraging virtual gatherings for work and church, and if needed, closing schools. But these have not happened yet.

We’ve been through global outbreaks before. Lake County works closely with local, regional and state partners to plan for and manage these incidents. These plans worked well during the 2009 H1N1 global pandemic, and we expect they will work well again.

“Wash your hands, cover your cough, and stay home when sick.”