Rice County Public Health Director Deb Purfeerst gave another thorough COVID-19 update today to the County Board of Commissioners meeting as a Committee of the Whole.  Other Department heads also provided some information for the Commissioners.

Purfeerst said to date there have been only 3 COVID cases total in the county and no deaths among residents of long-term care or assisted living facilities.  While the statewide numbers clearly show a majority of the people dying are residents of those type facilities.

Purfeerst told Commissioners, "I do think they're doing a very good job of screening upfront.  Making sure they are following recommended guidelines from the MDH (Minnesota Department of Health) and CDC) Centers for Disease Control. Compared to some areas of the state of Minnesota where there have been many, many deaths in a long-term care facility we have not seen that happen."

Purfeerst also confirmed the National Guard will be conducting testing at a couple of facilities in Rice County over the next few Wednesdays beginning tomorrow.  She says, "Facilities can sign up for that.  It's optional.  They do have to have a well thought out plan because once you do that testing you could end up with anywhere, they say, from 5 to 30 percent staff ratio of people who test positive.  If so, they are out of work for nearly two weeks.  So you need to make sure you have staffing plans in place.

Purfeerst pointed out Rice County ranks 6th in the state in incidence rate and second in Southeastern Minnesota.  Mower County tops the list of 13 counties used for the comparison.  Houston County which is on the Wisconsin and Iowa border has the lowest incidence rate.

The Rice County Public Health Director reported going into today 35% of the COVID positives in the county were black, 23% white, 17% other/multiple races and 15% refused/unknown.  She also said approximately 3 percent of the 1401 people tested for COVID-19 at the National Guard Armory in Faribault over Memorial Day weekend tested positive.

Duluth had less than 1% test positive, Moorhead 1.27%. St. James 4.53%, Minneapolis northeast armory 5.7%, East St. Paul Armory 5.9%.