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Officials weigh in on COVID-19 in Olmsted County

Jaclyn Harold
Created: July 13, 2020 06:54 PM

(ABC 6 News)-- The city of Rochester and Olmsted County is continuing to undergo changes to the process of COVID testing, and the demographic of people testing positive.
 
Earlier in the month, Olmsted County Public Health Director Graham Briggs said that since bars and restaurants have reopened indoor seating, cases in the area have begun to rise.

In the matter of a week, a mask mandate went into effect, and Public health released a recommendation that community members who have spent time downtown, get tested for COVID-19.
 
The county is also seeing changes in the testing process, as testing sites officially consolidated to a single location on Monday. A decision that co-director of the Graham Park testing site, Jason Post said was a mutual decision for all parties involved.
 
"To help with resource management, it helps utilize resources better for personal protective equipment, and it helps with the flow in swabs, both in collection and in getting those swabs back for processing," said Post. 

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Due to inclement weather a week prior, in conjunction with the recommendation from Public Health, Post said over the weekend there was an increase in people showing up to be tested.

Post mentioned in general that testing numbers have increased before the consolidation, averaging about 600 people a day between two sites.

"We have expanded our testing recommendations, we have gone through a lot more testing that are a-systematic individuals as well as a lot of contacts because of positive cases in the community," he said.

Post also adds that with testing now being limited to one location, Mondays, and mornings seem to be the busiest times. He said the average wait time for drivers on Monday was about an hour to an hour in a half. 

Mayor Kim Norton said it was a difficult decision to require masks in the city of Rochester, but with increasing cases and little compliance, she believes it is overall the right decision for the community.

She said there is a possibility to end the mandate in September, at which the council can vote to extend if they feel it's necessary.


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