DODGE COUNTY, Minn. (KTTC) — More than six months in, the pandemic has actually taken a while to reach some communities in our area.
However, cases are spiking in Dodge County. The concern is over case numbers more than doubling in recent weeks.
“It was pretty typical for us in Dodge County for us to go several days with zero new positive cases. Just over this last weekend, we had 21 new cases in a 48 hour period,” said Amy Caron, Dodge and Steele County Public Health Director.
She tells us that both counties are seeing a positivity rate between 4 and 5 percent, which is on par with the state average.
More concerning though is the fact that cases are now proving harder to trace.
“It’s been more of a community spread type situation and that’s what we’re seeing across the state,” Caron said. “That is a little unsettling to us, not being able to track where they may have picked this up.”
The Dodge County Health Department does have some idea.
“Those people that are in that two-week quarantine, some of them decide not to do the two-week quarantine,” said Caron. “Often times they don’t have symptoms and they feel fine.”
She reminds the public that symptomatic people can still spread the disease. The spread in Dodge County forced the health department to recommend the Kasson-Mantorville School District to stop in-person learning.
“That six feet of social distancing is much easier when you have half the number of kids in the classrooms,” Caron said about the switch to a hybrid model.
With the holidays coming up, she understands that seeing family is important to mental health. However, she suggests that people stay away from older relatives and avoid traveling to areas designated as COVID-19 hotspots.
“I’m not here to tell people what you should or shouldn’t do, but you do need to weigh your risks when you’re traveling outside your area,” Caron said.
Another big way to keep the disease in check is to answer your phone if a health official calls.
“We’re not here to get people in trouble or anything like that. We’re just doing simple epidemiology,” Caron assures. “We’re trying to track those cases and somewhat contain the spread. Like I’ve been saying, that’s one of our only defenses right now.”
We reached out to the Kasson-Mantorville superintendent. He did not have time to speak with us on camera Thursday.
This week grades 7 through 12 in the district went to a hybrid model. Younger students are still learning in-person.