Olmsted County lifts COVID-19 emergency declaration

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(ABC 6 News) – After more than three years, Olmsted County is officially ending the COVID-19 public health emergency with the repeal of the declaration by the Olmsted County Board of Commissioners effective Tuesday.

Olmsted County Public Health Services (OCPHS) said it will now focus on balancing prevention and living with COVID-19 in the community.

“Conditions in Olmsted County and across the state of Minnesota have significantly improved,” said OCPHS Director Denise Daniels. “COVID-19 has become a part of our lives, and we will continue focusing on monitoring the virus and promoting vaccinations.”

OCPHS will continue providing COVID-19 vaccines and boosters at its 2100 Campus Drive location in Rochester. The department will also inform and educate the public about COVID-19 threats and prevention on our website and social media sites.

Residents can also continue monitoring community levels of COVID-19 in Olmsted County using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID-19 county checkWastewater data is also available for the City of Rochester to view pathogen trends, including COVID-19.

“I am proud of all our employees’ work in response to the pandemic efforts the past three years,” said Daniels. “They demonstrated flexibility and determination as we navigated a difficult time in our history.”

OCPHS has also adjusted its mask requirements in its clinical settings. Masks are no longer required in areas where direct client care is delivered. However, if a client requests a provider wear a mask, OCPHS will support that accommodation. 

Masking is mandated when there is a risk of infectious disease transmission, including during Tuberculosis clinics. Masking will also be required for 10 days following a known higher-risk COVID-19 exposure and a full 10 days after infection, even if the person meets the criteria to exit home isolation before that 10-day mark. 

Meanwhile, the Biden administration will end most of the last remaining federal COVID-19 vaccine requirements next week when the national public health emergency ends.