PARK RAPIDS, MN (November 12, 2020) – Hubbard County’s COVID-19 confirmed case count continues to rise rapidly, with rampant spread throughout all communities causing concern among state and local officials.
“Hubbard County has 702 confirmed cases as of 11:00 am, and 150 of those are active cases. 11 county residents are currently hospitalized, both in and out of the county. We can confirm 12 deaths due to COVID,” said Community Health Director, Marlee Morrison. “Our local hospital and long-term care facilities are working through significant staffing issues due to COVID isolation and quarantine, along with a steadily increasing demand for clinical care and hospital beds both in our county and around the region.”
Minnesota Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm sent a letter this week to all counties with a positivity rate of over 5%. Hubbard, with a two-week positivity rate of 17.7% (as of 11/4/2020 per CMS) was included. She noted that having a positivity rate of over 5% indicates the spread in our county has reached a concerning level, and higher rates of virus transmission in the community increases the risk for all residents, including those who work or live in long term care facilities.
Because Hubbard County’s positivity rate is over 10%, the skilled nursing facilities and assisted living centers cannot allow visitors beyond Essential Caregivers and compassionate (end of life) care. This increases isolation for residents, which presents risks for physical and mental well-being. It adds sometimes incredibly challenging staffing issues, as an outbreak severely limits those who are available to work.
Schools are also facing challenges due to the high rate and community spread. School districts have had to make choices for the safety of their staff and students, while continuing to provide a safe education for the youngest county residents. Whether in person, hybrid, or distance, these are unique and unprecedented challenges for the schools including managing an increased amount of sick calls from students and staff, and managing isolation and quarantine requirements, in addition to stringent mask and social distance requirements within the schools.
Per Morrison, “We need the public’s help to reduce community spread. Complying with mask requirements and gathering requirements is the first priority – we see that once the virus is introduced at a social gathering, it travels quickly through all households. Wearing a mask may feel like a personal choice, but that mask protects not only yourself, but someone else who is vulnerable to the worst effects of the virus. If you are at risk, stay home as much as possible and look for help from your friends and neighbors, or Community Health. These requirements may feel burdensome, but we won’t be wearing masks for the rest of our lives. Wearing them now and following other social distance and hygiene requirements will help us save lives and keep our community going.”
Char Christenson, Hubbard County Board chair, had this to say; “The Hubbard County Board understands and supports the importance of personal freedom and liberty; however, COVID-19 is now impacting all aspects of our community. We all have a friend or family member, or even have personal experience with the detrimental effects of this illness. We are asking the community to do their best to follow the guidelines set forth, and to reach out to their own health care provider or to Community Health for information and guidance when needed.”
CHI St. Joseph’s Health Community Health is the public health agent for Hubbard County, and has been working in collaboration with local, regional, and state partners in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.