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County encourages social distancing within and without

Wabasha County Public Health Director Tammy Fiedler wanted to make sure to emphasize that by the time you read this, some of the information contained in this story about the coronavirus response in Wabasha County will probably have changed.

As an example County Administrator Brian Buhmann pointed to advice on the maximum size of gatherings to limit the spread of the virus. On Friday it was 250 people. Then it was 50. On Monday the president suggested 10 might be an appropriate number.

As of Tuesday there were no confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus, in Wabasha County or Goodhue County.

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is providing updates of COVID-19 cases every weekday online at https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/situation.html.

MDH has posted guidance for limited the spread of the virus at https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/action.html.

The federal Centers for Disease Control is posting up-to-date information at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html.

In Wabasha County specifically, Public Health is operating what Fiedler called a mini command center to respond to questions from businesses, citizens, schools and others about coronavirus.

The county hadn’t closed its buildings to the public as of Tuesday, but it had put measures in place to encourage social distancing and to keep gatherings of people below the current threshold of 50.

For Tuesday’s county board meeting, for example, the county set up an overflow room where people could observe the meeting remotely.

An emergency provision in state law allowed Commissioner Rich Hall fully participate in the meeting by phone, Buhmann said.

“We’re trying to do business as usual but with social distancing,” he said, that includes encouraging people to call or email rather than come to visit county offices in-person if they can.

Driver’s license testing in the county is suspended.

He said the county knows that size limits on weddings, funerals, concerts and other gatherings are having “big impacts that affect people’s lives.”

“Our hope is that we can get ahead of this and really flatten the curve,” he said.

Fiedler offered some simple advice:

“Wash your hands. Stay home if you’re sick. Social distancing.”

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