State reports 18 local cases; nearby counties in thousands

The Minnesota Department of Health confirmed 18 cases of coronavirus in Rock County as of Tuesday morning, up from eight cases reported a week ago.

But Minnehaha County has 2,195 (up from 1,939 a week ago) and Nobles has 1,069 (up from 477 last week), both stemming from outbreaks in meat processing plants in Sioux Falls and Worthington.

Rock County Emergency Management Director Kyle Oldre said his office and Sanford Luverne are working closely with the MDH to monitor the local coronavirus response.

He said the numbers don’t tell the whole story and that it takes several days for confirmed cases to get reported to the public.

“We know there are cases out there, and we know there are asymptomatic people out there,” Oldre said. “We need to continue social distancing and wearing masks if we’re out in public.”

For now, he said local agencies seem prepared for a “surge” of cases, anticipated this summer, according to CDC and local projections.

“We are just so fortunate to have Tammy Loosbrock and the crew up at the hospital working with us,” Oldre said Tuesday. “They are so willing to share input and seek input. That’s so important to have that communication.”

A new development on the community level this week is the Minnesota Responds Medical Reserve Corps for prospective volunteers.

Minnesota Responds, which is part of a national initiative, coordinates local, regional, and statewide volunteers to help public health and health care systems in emergencies.

Oldre said he’s been pleased with local response by area residents who are signing up to volunteer, but he encourages additional participants.

Register at or call the Minnesota Department of Health at 651-201-5700.

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