Amid rising COVID-19 cases in its service area, Horizon Public Health asks for community’s help .

As COVID-19 cases continue to surge across the state of Minnesota, Douglas, Grant, Pope, Stevens and Traverse are also experiencing an increase, a news release from the organization says. Horizon Public Health is asking everyone to consider their activities and choices and how they can help prevent or limit the spread of COVID-19.

There has been a steady climb in cases since mid-September. As of Friday, October 9th there are 185 active cases in the Horizon service territory.

According to Minnesota Department of Health data, Douglas County has added nearly 200 confirmed cases in the past two weeks.

Horizon Public Health says the majority of active cases in its service area are in working age people and associated with gatherings and a general increase in activities and exposure. Many cases are the result of an unknown community exposure. The agency says there are three critical pillars in our common effort: stay home when you are sick, wear a mask and avoid gatherings that are not following prevention guidelines.

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"There is no such thing as zero risk, but we can all agree that we want to avoid hospitalizations and impact on our vulnerable populations, particularly in long term care settings. To help meet this challenge, we must work together as a community and take the steps we know can reduce the spread of COVID-19," the news release says.

According the state Department of Health, here is the COVID-19 data for Douglas and other area counties as of Friday, Oct. 9:

Douglas: 489 confirmed cases, 3 deaths

Grant: 71 confirmed cases, 4 deaths

Otter Tail: 563 confirmed cases, 4 deaths

Pope: 117 confirmed cases, 0 deaths

Stevens: 138 confirmed cases, 1 deaths

Todd: 569 confirmed cases, 2 deaths

Traverse: 43 confirmed cases, 0 deaths

Regardless of your risk, Horizon Public Health said it is always important to follow these best practices to help slow the spread:

• Stay home if you are sick.

• Get tested if you are sick or recommended to because of close contact.

• Wear a face covering or mask.

• Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use hand sanitizer.

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

• Cover your cough or sneeze and wash your hands .

• Avoid gatherings where people aren’t wearing masks and practice social distancing of at least 6 feet in public places.

• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Symptoms of COVID-19 to look out for are: fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.

Individuals who have had close contact with someone who was diagnosed with COVID-19 are recommended to limit their activities and remain at home for 14 days after their last exposure, even if they test negative.

Individuals who experience COVID-19 symptoms are recommended to stay home for at least 10 days from symptom onset, with at least one being fever-free if fever is present (without taking fever-reducing medications) and symptoms are improving.

If you have additional questions about COVID-19, talk to your health care provider, local public health or call the Minnesota Department of Health Helpline at 1-800-657-3504, weekdays 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. If you are on Facebook and/or Instagram please follow Horizon Public Health @HorizonPublicHealth and/or visit its website for additional links and information at horizonpublichealth.org.

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