Updated: Nobles County COVID-19 count now at 477
REGIONAL — Nobles County’s number of positive cases of COVID-19 increased by 78 to 477 on Monday afternoon, according to the latest update issued by the Minnesota Department of Health this morning. The total is the second highest in the state, with only Hennepin County (1,524), in the Twin Cities metro area, seeing higher numbers.
Cottonwood County now has 11 positive cases, up from six the previous day, while Murray County's count remained at 10. Jackson County had its number of case increase from seven to nine, and Rock County moved from six cases to eight. Pipestone County still has just two cases.
Across Minnesota, 301 people have died from the novel coronavirus, according to the MDH report, which tabulated new numbers as of 4 p.m. Monday. This was up from 286 deaths reported on Sunday. As of 4 p.m. Monday, there were 314 patients hospitalized in the state, including 120 individuals in intensive care units.
Thus far, 3,816 Minnesotans have tested positive for COVID-19. Of those, 1,842 individuals no longer need to be in isolation.
The latest data available Tuesday morning from the Iowa Department of Public Health reports 11 COVID-19 cases in Lyon County (five recovered), eight in Osceola County (three recovered) and six in Dickinson County (two recovered).
Iowa has thus far had 6.376 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 2,164 of those already recovered. There have been 136 deaths reported.
COVID-19 cases at two senior care facilities
In Worthington, Ecumen Meadows sent out a letter Tuesday morning to residents and family members stating that a staff member of the facility had tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
"The team member who is ill has not worked in the building for several days and she had very little interaction with any residents," Ecumen Meadows Executive Director Nancy Garvin wrote in an email. "Your prayers are appreciated as we are in this fight together."
The Ecumen Meadows letter, dated April 28, began with the statement of a continued commitment to updating residents and family members during the pandemic.
"We have learned this morning that one of our team members has tested positive for the virus," the letter states. "This team member will not return to work until fully recovered. We will follow the Department of Health guidelines regarding all related risk assessments, screening and return-to-work protocols.
"We take this situation seriously and are working closely with local and state health officials, following the recommended guidance from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)," the letter continues. "As we’ve shared with you previously, we anticipated that we would see cases of the virus due to its prevalence in our surrounding communities, and we have been singularly focused on preparedness for COVID-19."
The letter also includes detail on Ecumen Meadows ongoing measures in reducing transmission of COVID-19. Those include wearing face masks to help reduce the inadvertent transmission of this or other contagious illnesses, restricted visitor protocols, in-room dining and the discontinuation of group activities. The facility is actively conducting health screenings for residents and for team members at the start and end of their shifts.
Meanwhile, residents and family members at South Shore Care Center in Worthington were notified over the weekend that one of its employees had tested positive for COVID-19.
"Resident safety is our top priority and we are doing everything we can to ensure we stop the spread of COVID-19 within our facility," said a letter, signed "South Shore Care Center," that was mailed to a family member of a South Shore resident and shared with The Globe. "We are staying in very close communication with local and state health officials to ensure we are taking all the appropriate steps.
"We understand this creates a lot of unease in our community and have taken action by screening staff, restricting visitors and cancelling group events," the letter adds. "This is a difficult time for everyone and we will continue to provide you with updates as they become available. We will contact you if your loved one is suspected or diagnosed with COVID-19."
Jon Austin, a communications consultant in the Twin Cities area, also commented Tuesday afternoon on behalf of Superior Healthcare Management, the parent company of both South Shore Care Center and Crossroads Care Center.
"As far as procedures, since last month, our team has been wearing protective masks and gloves and we have been screening clinical staff and visitors for signs and symptoms of COVID-19.," Austin wrote. "In consultation with the Minnesota Department of Health, we’ve also taken additional aggressive actions to increase the resources and precautions dedicated to keeping our residents and staff healthy and safe."
These measures, he listed, include Increased staffing; increasing cleanings and training with all staff to ensure thorough understanding and use of enhanced precautions including the proper use of personal protective equipment; continuing to limit visitors and events; monitoring and screening residents; and screening each staff member at the beginning of every shift. Staff are also instructed to call first before coming to work if they believe they have symptoms or may have had exposure.
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