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COVID-19 cases shift and increase in younger population

Jaclyn Harold
Updated: July 07, 2020 07:02 PM
Created: July 07, 2020 06:59 PM

(ABC 6 News) - Since Governor Tim Walz lifted the stay-at-home-order and the state continues to reopen, public health officials are seeing changes in COVID cases.

"A lot of our cases have been in this 30 to 40, 50-year-old range but we have seen a somewhat significant shift," said Olmsted County Public Health Director Graham Briggs. 

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"If we look at just the last two weeks, we can see that children and teenagers, and people getting into their twenties are a little bit more over-represented," said Briggs.

Since the order to stay at home was lifted, two major holidays have led health officials to believe that getting back out into the community is what's changing the age demographic for positive cases in Olmsted County. Briggs said, though the severity risk is lower for the new group of COVID patients, they still put the community at risk.

"If we're seeing transmission in the community in the younger population. They themselves may be at less risk but they could potentially pose a risk for their loved ones and others that may be at high risk," said Briggs.

Businesses opening up, specifically bars and restaurants have allowed people to ease back into some type of normal routine, but according to Briggs, though you can socially distance yourself, most people are not wearing masks when they eat or drink. 

Following the mask mandate signed by Mayor Kim Norton on Monday, July 6, effective July 8, Olmsted County officials said they support the decision. 

"As people emerged from their homes and got back to business and got back to daily life, we assumed that there's going to be some additional risk there but we are seeing that in the case data now, and we're seeing an increase in the cases, and we're seeing some shift from workplaces and homes to social events,' said Briggs.

During the meeting with County Commissioners, Briggs also touched on being more transparent with the community. He said though it is not public health's decision to outwardly name a business that has a positive case of COVID, they will- for the sake of the community announce when multiple cases have been detected at a business to alert the public in case of exposure.

"If there's a need to get out to the public and say if you were at this place on this time and we can't find everybody that we think may be at risk then we're going to work with that facility to make sure that the public knows about that risk," said Briggs. 

Until there's a vaccine, Briggs said the best way too slow the spread of COVID-19 is to continue social distance and use face coverings in scenarios where you cannot. 
 


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