Spring has turned to summer, but this year, as has been the case for most of 2020, it is a different experience for most of us.

As health and human services professionals, we have been watching and learning about COVID-19 since reports first emerged in late 2019 and early 2020. We have worked diligently together and with other partners to prepare our community for the impacts of this disease. And while we have flattened the curve so that our supplies were not depleted and our facilities were not overwhelmed, we have not seen the last of COVID-19. In fact, as has been reported by the Minnesota Department of Health and in the media, the rate of infection is increasing in our community.

Now that we are moving to resume some activities, it is important to be mindful that COVID-19 is still in our community and we all play a role to help keep each other safe and healthy.

Fortunately, it is relatively easy for each of us to do our part. Washing hands, maintaining appropriate distance from others and wearing a mask when you are in public are proven ways to reduce the spread. Even under ideal circumstances, this highly infectious disease will move from one person to another.

That is why it is important that if you do experience any of the symptoms, you should call your health care provider and ask for a diagnostic test. Even if the test is negative, if you do not feel well, stay home and limit your interactions with others until you feel better.

Self-isolation is not always easy and our public health department is able to help with essential services where needed. The good news is that for the vast majority of people who do become infected with COVID-19, they are able to recover at home and do not need to go to the hospital.

We look forward to life resuming in ways we can all enjoy and appreciate. The most important thing to understand is that we all do better when we all do our part. Thank you for being considerate and practicing these simple ways to keep our community healthy and strong.

Please practice the following to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our communities:

  • · Wear a mask in public: I wear a mask to protect you. You wear a mask to protect me.
  • · Keep your physical distance: Six feet or about two arms’ lengths apart from other people.
  • · Wash your hands with soap: Simple and effective.
  • · Stay home if you do not feel well.
  • · Get a test if you have COVID symptoms or per MDH have participated in large gatherings. Call your local health care provider to schedule a test.
  • · Self-isolate if you have been around someone who is sick or tested positive.
  • · If you can’t go to work, talk to your employer.
  • · If you have been instructed to stay in isolation or quarantine due to COVID, and you need help with essential services to help you be able to stay at home, call your local public health department.

There are many resources for employers, workers, and communities, including resources in different languages, to provide you with additional education and information about COVID-19:

Stay safe MN. Stay safe Goodhue County.

Nina Arneson is director of Goodhue County Health and Human Services.

Dr. Brian Whited, is CEO of Mayo Clinic Health System in Cannon Falls, Lake City and Red WinG.

Yvette Burk is nurse administrator of Mayo Clinic Health System in Cannon Falls, Lake City and Red Wing.