The Minnesota Department of Health confirmed Monday that a second Rice County resident has died due to COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

“We are saddened to hear of another COVID-19 death in Rice County. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family during this especially difficult time to lose a loved one,” says Deb Purfeerst, Rice County Public Health director.

As of Monday, Rice County has had 126 lab confirmed cases of COVID-19, ranging in age from 2 years of age through 89 years of age, with a median age of 34 years old. Rice County COVID-19 data is updated regularly on the Rice County COVID-19 website, bit.ly/3ex1gpW.

Minnesota’s COVID-19 toll marched Monday, with the Health Department reporting 591 deaths, 13 more than Sunday; 452 Minnesotans are currently hospitalized, 18 more than the prior day, although the number needing intensive care stayed relatively stable at 194.

Rice County Public Health is reminding everyone of the importance of protecting the vulnerable population during this pandemic. Anyone can contract this disease and pass it on to others; everybody needs to do their part to help protect others. For those 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 will be up to 14 days, or sometimes longer.

Rice County staff continue to work with Minnesota Department of Health epidemiology staff, who at this time are completing Rice County case investigations. In order to assist MDH, some of the case investigation work will transition to Rice County Public Health this week.

As a reminder, Rice County has established a personal protective equipment/homemade face mask community donation program. Donations received will be distributed to agencies throughout Rice County who are in need. More information about how to donate can be found at co.rice.mn.us/499/PPE-Donation-Request.

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

Additional information about COVID-19 can be found on the CDC website, cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.

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