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COVID-19 cases spike in Douglas County; 2nd death reported

The second victim of COVID-19 was between 75 and 79 years old.

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COVID-19 is rapidly rising in Douglas County.

As of Sept. 21, the cumulative number of confirmed cases is at 262, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. That’s a spike of 62 cases in eight days.

A second COVID-19 death was also added in Douglas County on Monday. The victim was between 75 and 79 years old. For privacy purposes, the health department does not release specific information on individual patients.

Currently, there are 64 active COVID-19 cases in Douglas County, which means they are on isolation status, according to Ann Stehn, administrator of Horizon Public Health. A week ago, there were 25 active cases.

“We have been seeing increased cases in the past week and now have the most active cases in Douglas County than we have seen to date,” she said. “We are seeing many different types of exposures, which is indicative of general community transmission.”


Ann Stehn

There have been some social gathering, work and activity-related exposures, Stehn added.

“We are not able to attribute the increase to a large event with a lot of transmission at this time, rather there have been many types of exposures happening in a variety of family, social, work, activity and other settings,” she said.

The recent increase in local cases wasn’t unexpected, Stehn said.

“We have anticipated that at some point we would start to see more cases and community transmission,” she said. “As people have broadened their activities and contacts, it is disappointing, but not unexpected to see more cases developing.”

The median age of cases across the Horizon five- county area has been gradually decreasing and it is currently at 37. However, Stehn said, the majority of local cases are in the 20-29 age range with 27% percent of the total, and the next most common age categories, 40-49, are at 16% and 6-19 are at 13%.

“Fortunately, we have not had many cases in 80 or older,” she said. “We need to remember that a virus can be easily passed from one person to the next. To make it even more challenging, COVID-19 can be transmitted before symptoms develop and we are also seeing a number of cases that never develop any symptoms.”


Horizon continues to see cases of COVID-19 when victims didn’t initially realize what it was, Stehn said.

“We can’t stress enough the importance of staying home if you have symptoms and to contact your health care provider and get tested when indicated,” she said. “If you are positive or exposed, follow the isolation and quarantine guidance to further limit the spread.”

Other advice on how the public can help keep the community safe:

“Good masking practices and physical distancing are critical tools to help us slow the spread,” Stehn said. “Remember to cover both your mouth and nose.”

As the fall season brings increased activities, school and more indoor activities, Stehn said it’s important for residents to be even more mindful of how they can make their interactions as safe as possible.

“Increase distance, limit your time of exposure, wear a mask consistently, keep it outdoors when possible and wash your hands,” Stehn said.

For those in Douglas County who thought the virus wasn’t here and that they could relax a bit, now is the time to pay attention and consider what they can be doing to reduce the threat, Stehn said.

“We each have many people in our lives that are important to us. Find a way to connect, but keep it low risk,” she said. “COVID-19 is clearly present in a number of places in our community. We hope some additional attention and effort can help to bring the numbers of cases down to protect our loved ones.”


The statewide cumulative total of cases increased to 90,942 on Sept. 21 and there were four new deaths, bringing the death total to 1,965.

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Ann Stehn

Al Edenloff is the editor of the twice-weekly Echo Press. He started his journalism career when he was in 10th grade, writing football and basketball stories for the Parkers Prairie Independent.
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