Public Health recommends COVID testing for Downtown Rochester visitors

Jaclyn Harold
Updated: July 10, 2020 07:11 PM
Created: July 10, 2020 07:08 PM

ABC 6 News)-- The COVID-19 pandemic continues to change. In recent weeks, public health officials have shared that the age demographic most affected by COVID in Olmsted County is also changing, and downtown Rochester is connected.

"Over the last couple weeks Olmsted County Public Health has linked at least 25-lab confirmed cases to exposure in social settings that were occurring specifically related to a lack of mask use, and social distancing downtown at a number of different venues," said Graham Briggs, the Director of Olmsted County Public Health.

The downtown Rochester area is lined with local shops, bars, and restaurants. A vibrant area that attracts residents and guests visiting Mayo Clinic. Now, the attraction is considered an area of concern in the community for COVID.

"The reason that we're doing this too, is to make sure that downtown is safe for businesses, and for customers," said Briggs. 

Earlier in the week, Briggs broke down the latest COVID-19 numbers in the county, and he said that as the stay-at-home order lifted, and bars and restaurants reopened, that's when public health noticed the shift in age groups impacted by the virus.

Though the main concern is for people who have been in close proximity to others for long periods of time, without masks, and in enclosed spaces, to be proactive, anyone from the downtown area is being advised to take steps to prevent a large outbreak.

"We never have any intention of trying to scare people or anything like that. When we see risk we want to make sure that the public can trust that we're going to let people know that we see something here and with this information, we're going to give you some directions on how to use this information to make the best decision for you," said Briggs.

The targeted age group for the recommendation is a demographic that Briggs said is at a lower risk of experiencing severe sickness, but this is still an opportunity to get ahead of potential outbreaks in other communities.

"We have a chance to act and recommend testing to try to get ahead of this before we end up in a situation where we've seen some other jurisdictions around the country end up," said Briggs.

If you are concerned about potential exposure to the coronavirus, you can contact your primary care physician or the COVID-19 Community hotline. Testing is administered at Graham Park.

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