Despite being home to less than 10% of the population, Cannon Falls has had more than a third of Goodhue County’s lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases, according to a city-by-city comparison released Thursday, July 2.

There are a couple explanations for the apparent disproportion of cases, according to Goodhue County Health and Human Services.

READ MORE: Goodhue County HHS: Stay safe, stay open

First, not all suspected cases of the respiratory disease are confirmed through testing, so the numbers reported by the state health department may not fully portray the scope of the pandemic in local communities.

Second, there was an exposure to COVID-19 at a long-term care facility in Cannon Falls. Though the facility responded quickly to stop the spread of the disease and has not had a new case in a month, the cases there contributed to the city’s overall case count.

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Cannon Falls had 35% of the county’s lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases as of July 2, followed by Red Wing at 24%, according to a chart on the county’s pandemic situation website. The chart is updated every couple of weeks.

The most common means of exposure to COVID-19 was a tie between long-term care facilities (not necessarily those in the county, as county residents may work in facilities outside the county) and known contact with a positive case out in the community, both at 27% of lab-confirmed cases. Community exposure with no known contact accounted for 23% of cases.

Goodhue County Health and Human Services graph
Goodhue County Health and Human Services graph

At least two congregate living facilities in Goodhue County have reported an exposure to COVID-19, defined as a person diagnosed with the disease who either visited, worked or lived at the facility while contagious. They are the Gardens at Cannon Falls and Valentines Assisted Living in Red Wing, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. Only facilities with 10 or more residents are named by the health department in accordance with privacy laws.

Keep motivated

Goodhue County climbed to 127 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of Thursday, HHS reported. Of those, one patient remained hospitalized and an estimated 95 patients no longer required isolation.

HHS cautioned that the pandemic is far from over, and called on residents to stay vigilant and motivated to curb the spread of the new coronavirus.

"We don’t want to undermine months of not seeing our families and friends, planning and recent progress in managing the pandemic by not continuing to take safe precautions," according to a news release. "Now that businesses are beginning to reopen, it’s crucial that people continue to follow guidelines to avoid back-sliding."

Staff at an unnamed establishment in Goodhue County tested positive for COVID-19 this week, the news release states. Patrons were contacted and asked to monitor for symptoms.

There were eight deaths from the disease in Goodhue County and 1,458 deaths statewide as of July 2, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. The cumulative number of positive cases was at 37,210.

Across the river in Pierce County, there have been 68 COVID-19 cases as of July 2, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. The statewide total was 29,738 cases and 793 deaths.

July 4 safety tips

Goodhue County Health and Human Services issued Fourth of July safety tips amid the ongoing pandemic. Recommendations include:

  • Outdoors is better than indoors
  • Being masked is better than not being masked
  • When you gather, think small groups where distance can be maintained, avoid crowds

“The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many communities to cancel their fireworks displays to keep large crowds from gathering in one place,” according to an email Thursday. “Though some shows are still on, it is important to be very careful when it comes to social distancing.”

If hosting a summer party, the health department advised residents to use disposable plates and silverware, frequently clean and disinfect high-touch areas and skip buffet-style food serving.

For more COVID-19 tips and information, visit www.co.goodhue.mn.us/covid-19.