We're not out of the woods yet. Officials with the St. Louis County Public Health department are reminding the general public in the area about the need to remain vigilant in the fight against the COVID-19 Pandemic - even as conditions (and the availability of vaccines) get better.  A recent outbreak in Ely is serving as their touch-point to not let your guard down and continue to follow protocol.

According to the St. Louis County, the Public Health Department has seen a significant increase in confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ely.  Last week, the county reports that there were 33 cases confirmed in Ely - which represents 15% of the total cases for the entire county.  "Some of the cases appear to be travel related, while others are linked to social gatherings and youth sports activities."

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With good news on the horizon (i.e. vaccines, etc) and the more-than-a-year duration of the COVID Pandemic, fatigue with precautions is understandable.  However, county officials want to make sure that we don't move backwards with any ground we may have gained.  Amy Westbrook - the director of the St. Louis County Public Health department shares:

"We know people are tired, and probably have been experiencing information overload about COVID precautions this past year.  But outbreaks such as what we've seen in several of our communities in the last two weeks makes it very clear that we can't let our guard down yet.  Vaccinations are making a difference, but we still must all remain vigilant and do our part to minimize the spread of this virus."

To contain and limit the spread, everyone is urged to continue following COVID-19 protocols as established by the Public Health department:

"Anyone identified as a close contact of a confirmed case - meaning they've been within six feet for 15 minutes or longer - should quarantine for 14 days whether symptomatic or not.  The exception is anyone who is fully vaccinated (meaning they are two weeks past receiving their second dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine) does not need to quarantine unless they show signs or symptoms of COVID-19."

Meanwhile, testing is the key towards knowing where you might stand in relation to the virus.  Tests have become available in a pretty widespread fashion.  The Public Health Department recommends testing for:

  • Anyone with symptoms
  • Anyone - regardless of whether experiencing symptoms - who has been exposed to a confirmed case.  If non-symptomatic, it is best to wait 5 to 7 days after exposure before getting tested
  • Anyone who has attended a large gather or indoor event

Testing locations can be found by clicking here.  Additionally, the St. Louis County Public Health department is working with schools to provide testing kits for students who are symptomatic.  You can also order free at-home saliva kits offered by the Minnesota Department of Health.  Click here for details.

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