Nicollet County has its first confirmed case of coronavirus not directly linked to travel, confirmed Saturday morning by Nicollet County Public Health. The individual is 26 years old and contracted the virus from someone else who already had a confirmed case.

This is the first of its kind in Nicollet County, as the first two cases confirmed in the county were directly linked to travel. But the MDH still doesn't define this transmission as community spread, because the person contracted the virus from someone who already was confirmed to have it.

Health and Human Services Director Cassandra Sassenberg said of the latest case:

"Today, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) confirmed an additional positive case of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Nicollet County. The case is a 26-year-old who was exposed to an individual who previously tested positive for COVID-19. This individual is at home and has been asked to quarantine themselves for 14 days from their exposure and will be monitored for fever and respiratory symptoms. MDH is working with the infected person to identify and contact all potentially exposed individuals."

"While this is the third confirmed positive case in Nicollet County, we know testing to be limited. We are asking Nicollet County residents to take protective measures like staying home and avoiding social gatherings. The goal is to slow the spread of COVID-19 so we don’t overwhelm the health care system. It’s important for all of us to do our part to protect the people in our lives who are at higher risk for serious illness."

Sassenberg noted that it is not officially considered community spread.

"The MDH indicated that this person is not on the official community transmission list, because they had direct exposure with a confirmed case. The CDC defines community transmission as detection of confirmed cases of COVID-19 with no epidemiologic link to travelers or known cases," she said.

The news came Saturday morning at the same time the MDH reported the first COVID-19 death in the state. The death occurred Thursday; state officials said it was a Ramsey County resident in their 80s who had recently tested positive for COVID-19, and was the contact of an earlier confirmed case.

The daily update from the Minnesota Department of Health reported 138 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state on Saturday, up from 115 on Friday.

The vast majority of cases in Minnesota have been in the Twin Cities metro area, with 52 confirmed cases in Hennepin County and 17 in Ramsey County.

However, health officials said the actual number of coronavirus cases statewide is much higher — they’ve completed just 4,090 tests, rationing them to the most vulnerable people, amid a national shortage of supplies.

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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