The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has people all over concerned, including in the State of Minnesota. Governor Tim Walz posted this tweet on Twitter yesterday:

According to Bring Me The News, the Minnesota Department of Health has two testing kits, and each kit can test 400 people. They can order more as needed. The following criteria are used by doctors as they determine whether or not to test for COVID-19:

  • Respiratory symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath)
  • Travel history
  • Close contact with anyone with COVID-19
  • Severe respiratory symptoms that require hospitalization.

The symptoms above are similar to other illnesses, like the flu, and not everyone with those symptoms will be tested for COVID-19, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.

Coronavirus graphic via CDC website (click to enlarge)

Keep in mind that there have been 6 confirmed deaths in the United States and more than 3,000 deaths worldwide. These numbers are not insignificant, and, the flu is still out there and is killing more people. According to the MN Department of Health's most recent Weekly Influenza report, the flu is still widespread.

The takeaway from this is if you are sick stay home. Wash your hands frequently, and cover your coughs and sneezes. It's not a matter of if this virus comes to Minnesota, it is a matter of when, and we should all be proactive in helping to stop the spread of the virus.

The Owatonna school district also sent out a letter to inform parents and guardians about the potential spread of COVID-19, and the tips they included are the same ones that should be used during flu season, or if anyone has a common cold.

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