While social lives and conducting of business are largely carried out as they were prior to March of 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic fell upon the country, the virus is still in circulation and cases have seen an uptick over the past number of weeks. The slight upward trend serves as a reminder that COVID still exists, however, the rates are far from the levels seen during previous case number spikes over the past year.
During the month of August, 2022 the Minnesota Department of Health (DHS) reported a total of 64 cases in Pipestone County. By comparison, during a case spike in January of 2022 there were 298 cases reported. It should also be noted, however, that these numbers only reflect cases that were confirmed through DHS testing labs and do not include at-home test results.
The CDC uses a calculation of cases per 100,000 population to create a rate figure which is then used to place counties into a “community level” category. The categories are ‘low’, ‘medium’, and ‘high.’ Pipestone County is currently classified as a ‘medium’ community level with a case rate of 109.58.
In comparing again to case rates from last January, there were two weeks in which the Pipestone County case rate was 881.30. Prior to the latest uptick which started to show in July data, Pipestone County averaged a case rate of 63.1 for the month of June and 59.83 in May.
The CDC offers the following explanations as to what individuals should consider within their given community level.
At all COVID-19 Community Levels:
•Stay up to date on vaccination, including recommended booster doses.
•Maintain ventilation improvements.
•Avoid contact with people who have suspected or confirmed COVID-19.
•Follow recommendations for isolation if you have suspected or confirmed COVID-19.
•Follow the recommendations for what to do if you are exposed to someone with COVID-19.
•If you are at high risk of getting very sick, talk with a healthcare provider about additional prevention actions.
For communities that fall into the ‘medium’ or ‘high’ community levels additional precautions are advised. These are:
•If you are at high risk of getting very sick, wear a high-quality mask or respirator (e.g., N95) when indoors in public.
•If you have household or social contact with someone at high risk for getting very sick, consider self-testing to detect infection before contact, and consider wearing a high-quality mask when indoors with them.
The CDC website (www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/) has in-depth information about their isolation recommendations. In general, isolation should take place if you test positive for COVID-19 and should last at least five days. If you experienced symptoms then isolation should continue until one is fever-free for 24 hours and symptoms are improving. Regardless of when isolation ends, it is suggested to wear a mask through day 10.