After being one of the last counties in the area to report a case of COVID-19, Le Sueur County jumped up to five total on Tuesday.

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) notified Le Sueur County Public Health that Le Sueur County has an additional four cases of lab confirmed COVID-19, in addition to the case reported on March 22. MDH reports that the additional cases had contact with a known positive case and are recovering at home.

Neighboring counties with confirmed cases, as of Tuesday's report, include Nicollet with three, Blue Earth with five, Waseca with one, Rice with two and Scott with five. Sibley County, which includes Henderson, still has zero confirmed cases.

Statewide, the MDH reported 262 positive cases so far, including 21 that have needed hospitalization and one death. There are 88 confirmed patients who no longer need to be isolated. The MDH notes that the actual number of cases is likely much higher, with 5,812 tests completed so far.

Minnesota Department of Health staff are conducting the case investigation. Positive cases are isolated at home to prevent disease spread and the contact investigation identifies their close contacts. Close contacts are quarantined for 14 days from their exposure and monitored for fever and respiratory symptoms.

“We know COVID-19 is circulating in communities across Minnesota and the cases confirmed by testing are a fraction of the true number of cases,” said Cindy Shaughnessy, Le Sueur County Public Health Director. “We will continue to see additional cases in the days and weeks to come. It is extremely important that everyone take the community mitigation strategies seriously to slow the spread of COVID-19. Follow the executive orders of the Governor.”

Le Sueur County Public Health officials urge everyone to continue to listen and follow the recommendations of medical experts on how best to protect themselves and slow the spread of this virus. Those recommendations include:

 Stay home if sick

 Wash hands frequently with soap and water and use hand sanitizer

 Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your elbow

 Avoid touching your face, mouth, nose and eyes

In a majority of cases, COVID-19 causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. Call your health care provider if you have difficulty breathing or illness you cannot manage at home. MDH has set up a public hotline that is open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Hotline number: 651-201-3920.

Go to the CDC and MDH websites for the most up to date information about COVID-19: CDC website on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) — and Minnesota Department of Health - Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) —

Reach Editor Philip Weyhe at 507-931-8567 or follow him on Twitter @EditorPhilipWeyhe. ©Copyright 2020 APG Media of Southern Minnesota. All rights reserved. 

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