Todd County has seen an increase in confirmed cases of COVID‐19.

The number of cases has jumped from 73 cases on May 18 to 140 cases on May 22, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.

In a continued effort to keep the county’s residents safe, testing has begun within the community, according to Todd County Health and Human Services.

Testing has begun at Long Prairie Packing among employees of the plant. Todd County Health and Human Services is working in partnership with Lakewood Health System and Long Prairie Packing to test all employees for the virus that causes COVID‐19.

The purpose of the testing is to find those workers who are infectious with the virus and to isolate them by having them stay home to limit the spread of the disease in the plant and the community, said Todd County health officials.

To date, 170 employees were tested as of Thursday, May 21 and an estimated 160 more were expected to be tested on May 22. Employees who are tested will receive their results from Lakewood Health System within 48 hours.

If their results are positive, they are required to isolate themselves until their symptoms have improved, it has been at least 10 days from their first symptom, and three days without fever.

For employees who test positive but have no symptoms, they are required to isolate themselves for 10 days from the test date. Their household contacts are advised to self‐quarantine for 14 days and monitor for symptoms.

Employees who test negative may continue to work, but must undergo rigorous screening at the worksite. This screening includes a temperature check and a series of questions about COVID‐19 symptoms.

Plant officials have been cooperating fully with health officials on the response to cases in the plant.

“The health and safety of employees is a concern for all of us,” said Todd County Health and Human Services Director Jackie Och.

“Our number one priority is the safety of our employees and the community of Long Prairie. We are thankful to Lakewood Health System and Todd County Health and Human Services for their support,” said Jennifer Dibbern, public communications of American Foods Group.

Och said anyone can contract the disease and pass it on to others; everybody needs to do their part to help protect others during the pandemic.

For individuals who have been told by their healthcare provider that they have COVID‐19, or for those who have been in close contact with someone with COVID‐19, it is critical that they remain in isolation or quarantine as advised, which may be up to 14 days, or sometimes longer. Och said.

If you have symptoms of COVID‐19, contact your healthcare provider and seek testing. Symptoms can include fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, headaches, muscle pain, sore throat, or loss of taste or smell.

While many people with COVID‐19 have mild illness and get better without going to a clinic or hospital, the risk of severe disease is more significant for many people as well. People at higher risk include anyone over the age of 65, those with chronic lung disease or asthma, serious heart conditions, severe obesity, diabetes, chronic kidney disease needing dialysis, liver disease or immunocompromised persons.

Todd County staff continue to work with local partners and the Minnesota Department of Health staff on case investigations, contact tracing, business outreach, and essential service requests for individuals in isolation or quarantine.

Information about Todd County’s COVID response and community resources can be found at: https://www.co.todd.mn.us/coronavirus‐disease‐2019‐covid‐19/

More information on COVID‐19 and recommended community mitigation strategies can be found here: https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/index.html

Additional information about COVID‐19 can be found on the CDC website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019‐ ncov/index.html

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