By Randy Neumann, Todd County commissioner

So we have been dealing with COVID-19 since March and what we have seen is a roller coaster of highs and lows. Our report from our HHS Director at our Oct. 20 commissioner meeting in Todd County was as of Oct. 19, showing Todd County had 724 lab confirmed COVID-19 cases and three COVID-19-related deaths.

Many people with COVID-19 are not tested, so the laboratory confirmed cases represent only a portion of the total number of people in Todd County who have had COVID-19. Cases no longer needing isolation – 620 (86%) again some of these numbers go back into March of this year. So I think the real number as of Oct. 19 is 104 active cases in Todd County. Gender- Male- 50.3% (364); Female- 48.3% (350); Unknown- 1.4% (10) Age Range- 0.1 years- 103 years, Case average age = 41.8. Total COVID-19 tests performed in Todd County (as of Oct. 15) = 8,311, 7.9% positivity rate (615 test performed the week of Oct. 8-14) and Todd County’s population is around 25,000. The report I got from the Association of Minnesota Counties on Oct. 26 showed Todd County at 826 confirmed cases and six deaths and Doulas County at 708 confirmed cases and three deaths but their report does not show cases no longer needing isolation.

As most people know, I am up for re-election and being a door-to-door campaigner, COVID-19 has really changed things up. With not being told where the cases are within Todd County and with having elderly parents of 85 and 80 years of age and both of them with health issues, my first thoughts were of them. So what makes things interesting is a lot of people no longer have a landline so they are no longer in the phone book and that brings us to cell phones or online like Facebook to try to contact people. It takes a while to locate people. So again this is a different year and you try to deal with it.

Regarding the CARES Act fund in Todd County, the first round of grant funds was paid out and the totals for each month are as follows; March-July 2020 - $111.927.08, August 2020-$14,857.62, September 2020- $124,692.37 and October2020 to date - $77,169.13 for a Total CARES Act funds expended: $328,646.20. The County Board also approved spending around $500,000 on more improvements to the Expo building located at the County Fairgrounds. These improvements will also be paid for with CARES funding as this building will be used if COVID-19 mass vaccination will have to be done in the county.

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The Todd County Solid Waste project was part of the bonding bill and was approved by the Minnesota Senate who passed the bill with a 66-2 vote and the house passed it with a vote of 100-34. Thank you to our State Representatives Poston and Kresha and to our State Senator Gazelka for helping us with the $4 million in funding for our project.

Congratulations to the Stelling Farms of West Union Township as they were honored as Todd County Soil and Water SWCD Conservation Farmers of the Year.

Have you seen the One Watershed One Plan comprehensive watershed management plan, which is out for public comment? It is 441 pages you have 60 days to read/review and submit any written comments no later than 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 18, 2020. Other Sauk River Watershed news is they are moving into their new facility.

I will sign off with an important date coming up. Nov. 11 is Veterans Day, a day to honor those who fought to give us the freedom we have.

Osakis Voices is a rotating column written by community leaders who share their thoughts in their field of expertise.