RAMSEY COUNTY, Minn. – Minnesota has confirmed its first case of the new coronavirus in the state.
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) announced Friday that the patient is an adult from Ramsey County who recently traveled on a cruise ship with a known case of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the virus.
MDH says the patient began to develop symptoms on Feb. 25, sought health care on Thursday and samples from the person tested positive for the virus Friday.
“MDH is awaiting confirmatory testing from CDC, but health officials consider the presumptive results actionable,” wrote the department.
The patient is now in quarantine at home and is recovering, according to MDH.
Health officials say they’re working with Ramsey County Public Health to identify and contact all those who may have come in contact with the infected person. Those people will be asked to isolate themselves for 14 days from their exposure and will be monitored for fever and respiratory symptoms.
“The State of Minnesota has been working around the clock to prepare for this and I am confident that our Department of Health is up to the challenge,” Minnesota Governor Tim Walz said. “Our Administration is collaborating across state agencies and remains in close contact with both federal and local partners as we monitor developments with this outbreak. Our state is fortunate to have a strong public health sector and world-class health care providers who are working hard to keep Minnesotans safe and healthy.”
This case makes Minnesota the 20th state in the U.S. to report at least one COVID-19 case. As of Friday afternoon, there have been 260 cases of the virus confirmed in the U.S. and 14 deaths, 13 in Washington state and one in California.
Worldwide, there’s been more than 100,000 cases confirmed and over 3,400 COVID-19 deaths, with a majority in mainland China, where the virus is believed to have originated.
The virus that causes COVID-19 is spread by respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how flu and other respiratory diseases spread, or when people touch surfaces that have been contaminated by an infected person, and then touch their eyes, nose or mouth.
Officials say the most important thing you can do to protect yourselves from the virus is to take everyday steps to prevent respiratory illness, including:
· Covering your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or into your sleeve, and then throwing the tissue in the trash.
· Washing your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom or before eating. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
· Avoiding touching your face – especially your eyes, nose and mouth ‑ with unwashed hands.
· Staying home if you have cold or flu-like symptoms, and avoid close contact with people who are sick.