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More COVID-19 cases reported at Moose Lake prison

More COVID-19 cases reported at Moose Lake prison

Updated: April 03, 2020 03:17 PM

The Moose Lake prison is the only part of the Northland to report an increase in confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Friday.

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The Minnesota Department of Corrections now lists seven cases at the correctional facility in Moose Lake, which is three more than Thursday.

Beltrami, Carlton, Cass, Itasca, Koochiching, and St. Louis counties in northeastern Minnesota, Ashland, Bayfield, Douglas, and Iron counties in northern Wisconsin, and Gogebic County, Michigan have all had confirmed cases.

Koochiching County Public Health and Human Services reported its first case in a Facebook post on Wednesday night, saying the Minnesota Department of Health is contacting anyone who may have come into close contact with the case.  The patient's age and other information were not released.

Neighboring Itasca County reported its second case Wednesday.

"We have known that COVID-19 has been in the area for a while, and we suspect that it is not going away anytime soon," said Dr. Patty Carlin-Janssen, Itasca County Public Health Medical Director and Family Medicine Physician at Grand Itasca, in a news release. "Our community is at an advantage because our schools and restaurants closed prior to our first confirmed case. Please keep doing what you're doing by staying home and limiting contact with others as well as practicing good hand hygiene. It will take all of us to get through this."

Carlton County authorities stressed that there are likely additional cases that have not been lab-confirmed and may go unidentified at this time due to limited testing.

“This stresses the importance of the Stay at Home Order, as well as continued good infection control practices and social distancing. The Minnesota Department of Health is working with the identified cases and their close contacts for the investigation and will follow up with additional people who may be at risk," said Dave Lee, Director of Carlton County Public Health and Human Services, in a news release.

Carlton County Board Chair Marv Bodie issued a statement Tuesday saying he is hoping for safe outcomes for all those who live and work in the facility.

"Our local public health and human services staff, with community partners, have been preparing for this for many weeks, and will be continuing to follow the most accurate and up to date guidance from MDH and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as they plan for additional cases locally. Carlton County has a very strong Public Health department, and I am confident in their response to care for our residents during these uncertain times," Bodie said in a news release.

Earlier, St. Louis County said one of the patients diagnosed over the weekend is a woman in her early 60's who was hospitalized for treatment. The other individuals, two men and two women, all in their 20's and 30's, are recovering at home. At least one of those cases is linked to an earlier confirmed case.

"We are seeing confirmed cases in both urban and rural parts of St. Louis County," Amy Westbrook, St. Louis County Public Health Division Director said in a weekend news release. "We continue to assume there are more cases here than what is confirmed due to limited testing. This is also our first instance of a person having serious enough symptoms to require hospitalization, and we wish her all the best for a full recovery."

Copyright 2020 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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