No cases in Brown County at this time.

On Tuesday, March 10, the Herald-Dispatch asked Karen Moritz, Brown County Public Health Director, for some information on the agency’s preparations for any needed response to the possible spread of the coronavirus, referred to as COVID-19.

Moritz stressed that the situation is very fluid and Brown County Public Health’s responsibility and response will change as the situation changes.

Moritz said county public health agencies are implementing situational awareness. This includes daily calls, webinars, and website review with Centers of Disease Control (CDC), Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), and the Minnesota Hospital Association.

“We are working closely with organizations that are planning for impact by the illness —healthcare, schools, long term care, law enforcement, access and functional needs populations, business, law enforcement, EMS, and a variety of other organizations,” Moritz said. “We had a community partner meeting this week.”

Brown County Public Health will be providing public information via social media, radio, flyers, posters, and print media, mainly referencing to the Minnesota Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control websites for the most up to date accurate information.

“We would provide support to individuals or families if we have a case or cases in our county if they are asked to isolate or quarantine,” said Moritz. “Those decisions are made by MDH and we do not have any cases in Brown County at this time.”

Information on symptoms and treatment

Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms, to severe illness and death, for confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 cases.

The following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure: fever, cough, shortness of breath.

Standard guidance for avoiding respiratory infections also applies for COVID-19:

•Stay home when sick

•Cover your cough

•Wash your hands well

•Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

•Call your health care provider if you are experiencing any symptoms and are going to seek healthcare. This allows them to take the appropriate precautions.

There is no current vaccine or antiviral medication for COVID-19.

Treatment if someone has COVID 19: isolation, rest, fluids, medication to treat fever and discomfort. Seek medical help if very ill, such as difficulty breathing. Again, call before arriving at a medical clinic or emergency room.

The best and most accurate source of information is found at the CDC website (www.cdc.gov) or Minnesota Department of Health website (www.health.state.mn.us). These websites have information for many specific groups and are very helpful.

For those who would like to talk with someone, the Minnesota Department of Health Hotline is 651-201-3920.