The first death due to COVID-19 in Goodhue County was a resident in their 80s, the county health department announced Thursday, May 21.

Goodhue County Health and Human Services received confirmation of the death from the Minnesota Department of Health, according to a news release. HHS said the announcement is a reminder for residents and organizations to continue practicing social distancing, wearing masks and washing hands to slow the spread of the new coronavirus.

“Although this is not unexpected, it is very sad news for our county,” HHS Director Nina Arneson said. “Our hearts go out to all the loved ones and caregivers affected by this tragic death, and to all those suffering from this virus.”

Goodhue County in southeastern Minnesota includes the cities of Red Wing, Cannon Falls, Goodhue, Zumbrota, Pine Island, Wanamingo, Kenyon and part of Lake City.

Health departments do not release the names of COVID-19 patients.

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The cumulative number of lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Goodhue County was 40 as of Thursday, according to HHS. Patients ranged in age from under 10 to 99 years old.

People over the age of 65 are at a higher risk of severe illness.

“This loss is deeply felt by our entire community,” County Board Chair Paul Drotos said in a statement. “As COVID-19 continues to spread in Goodhue County and Minnesota, each of us must continue to do our part to prevent the spread of this virus, especially to our most vulnerable Minnesotans.”

Also this week, Minnesota Department of Health announced the Gardens at Cannon Falls became the first confirmed COVID-19 exposure inside a Goodhue County congregate care facility. That means a person diagnosed with COVID-19 either visited, worked or lived at the facility while contagious.

Find COVID-19 information and resources at the links and phone numbers below: