Shearer's Foods in Perham taking precautions after employee tests positive for COVID-19
A third Otter Tail County resident has tested positive for COVID-19, and one of the cases is in Perham.
The latest confirmed case was announced today, April 9, on the Minnesota Department of Health website. No other information has been released by the county or the state.
Meanwhile, Shearer's Foods confirmed today, April 9, that an employee in its Perham manufacturing location has tested positive for COVID-19.
The employee has been asked to self-quarantine at home for 14 days and has not come in contact with the product, so there is no food safety risk, according to a Shearer's news release.
"We are aware of community spread occurring in Minnesota, and that will impact Otter Tail County as well," Jody Lien, Otter Tail County Public Health Director, said in an emailed statement to the Focus. "It is important for the public to continue to follow the governor’s executive order to stay at home, and to use social distancing and alternative face coverings if you do need to go out for essential needs."
Lien also recommends common prevention measures: wash your hands, cover your cough, stay home if you are sick and clean frequently touched surfaces.
"All of these actions are going to make an impact to slow the spread of COVID-19," she said.
Shearer's says it has taken steps to "identify and notify individuals who worked closely with the team member diagnosed with COVID-19 and have asked them to self-quarantine at home for 14 days," according to the release.
The Perham facility remains open, and the company says it has conducted a deep cleaning of the contacted areas and equipment based on CDC guidelines, and are using EPA-approved registered products for COVID-19, according to the release.
Employees were told about the COVID-19 case earlier this week, according to multiple sources talking to the Perham Focus Newspaper.
Otter Tail County's first confirmed COVID-19 case was reported March 29 . In that instance, the adult patient was isolated at home and was being monitored by the Minnesota Department of Health. That patient did have recent international travel, according to the release. T he county's second confirmed case was on April 5.
It is unclear if the Perham case is the second or third positive case in Otter Tail County.
This latest positive COVID-19 case in Otter Tail County is among another 87 Minnesotans who had tested positive for the illness, state health officials reported Thursday, April 9.
The Minnesota Department of Health reported a total of 1,242 Minnesotans had tested positive for COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus. That number comes from 32,294 tested in the state.
Of the patients who have tested positive for COVID-19, 675 have recovered and no longer need to be isolated, 145 are in the hospital and 63 are in intensive care.
The state now has 50 reported deaths from COVID-19.
Health officials warn that that number is likely a significant undercount of the total number of Minnesotans who have or have had the illness. A shortage in testing has hampered their efforts to get a clearer picture of COVID-19's spread.
The reports come a day after Gov. Tim Walz announced that he would extend the state's stay at home executive order through May 4. The order was set to expire Friday, after Minnesotans for two weeks sheltered in place except for when completing essential activities or jobs deemed critical by the state.
Forum News Service contributed to this report.
More information and assistance
- MDH COVID-19 hotline: 651-201-3920 or 800-657-3903. The hotline is available seven days a week, 7 a.m.-7 p.m.
- School and child care hotline: 651-297-1304 or 800-657-3504
- MDH COVID-19 website: www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/situation.html
- Otter Tail County Public Health is available to answer general questions regarding COVID-19 at 218-998-8320 or 888-349-2581, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
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