Meanwhile, a new COVID-19 outbreak remains possible in Otter Tail County, home to a Jennie-O Turkey Store plant in Pelican Rapids that recently announced it had identified two cases, but cases rose by just 2 to 23 in Otter Tail Saturday. With the participation of Carris Health, the Hormel-owned turkey processor scheduled an opportunity in Pelican Rapids Thursday, May 7, for all 1,000 of its employees to become tested, and officials believed the results of those tests would be available Sunday, May 10.
Only three of the state’s 87 counties, all of them in the far northern portions of the state, currently have no reported cases. Two of them on the Canadian border — Lake of the Woods and Cook County — are sparsely populated.
With nearly 20,000 residents, however, the lack of confirmed cases in Hubbard County is unusual.
Gov. Tim Walz and state health officials on Friday said the state likely wasn’t adequately testing Hubbard County residents or residents in Cook and Lake of the Woods.
“This is becoming glaringly apparent both in Minnesota and, of course, nationally that the lack of testing blinded us,” Walz said. “We had no sight picture on what was happening and now this is something every morning we started bright and early having a deep discussion on this.”
Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said the state has brought online more testing capacity and there should be available within an hour’s drive of all Minnesotans. She said the state needed to do more to raise awareness about that availability and to expand access to testing.
In Hubbard County, those with symptoms of COVID-19 can be tested at the Essentia Health Park Rapids Clinic and Sanford Park Rapids Clinic.
“The providers are telling us people aren’t coming in, either because they had gotten the message previously that testing wasn’t available, or for whatever reason, people aren’t availing themselves of the testing capacity that’s there and we need to do better,” Malcolm said. “We need to do more outreach and have stronger campaign, make sure that people know that they can and should be getting tested if they have symptoms.”
Positive cases in area counties Saturday were:
- Becker: 25
- Clay (Moorhead): 233 (16 deaths)
- Clearwater: 2
- Hubbard: 0
- Mahnomen: 2 (1 death)
- Norman: 9
- Otter Tail: 23
- Wadena: 4
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