St. Louis County, Douglas County see increase in COVID-19 cases

Updated: July 13, 2020 06:59 PM

Both St. Louis and Douglas County have seen an increase in COVID-19 cases these past couple of weeks. This comes as both Duluth and Superior consider a mask ordinance and county health departments say they support it.

St. Louis County Public Health Division Director Amy Westbrook said as of Monday the county has 238 total cases. She said they are seeing more community acquired cases and some travel associated as well.

Westbrook said at first the cases were primarily driven by outbreaks. Westbrook added since the stay-at-home order ended, there have been more people out and about in social settings and also said testing criteria has broadened as well, which she added could be the reason behind the recent increase.

The county is continuing to strongly encourage social distancing and wearing face masks. Westbrook said they do investigations for all COVID-19 cases and stay on top of contact tracing. The highest age cohort in the county is 20 to 29-year-olds.

"We want everyone to understand the importance of social distancing to really recognize that we don't have a vaccine and we won't anytime soon so we really rely on each other to keep all of us safe," said Westbrook.

Meanwhile in Douglas County, health officer Kathy Ronchi said the county currently has 63 cases. Ronchi said some of the new cases are related to cases they've already identified. She added they are also seeing a lot of cases that came from people visiting out of the area post Father's Day and also people visiting multiple different bars and restaurants.

Ronchi said they've reached out to the state contact tracing team to assist with follow up on the recent cases.

"We're working a lot still with businesses, making sure that all of their COVID prevention strategies are in place. We are working with families and schools in planning," said Ronchi.

Both Westbrook and Ronchi continue to emphasize the importance of hand washing, social distancing, wearing face masks, and avoiding indoor crowded areas.

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