A third presumptive case of the novel coronavirus has been confirmed in Minnesota, with the Department of Health saying it involved an Anoka County resident.
"The case is an Anoka County resident in their 30s who was likely exposed through contact with international travelers," a release from the department said. "The patient developed symptoms Feb. 28 and sought health care March 9."
The patient is in critical condition and hospitalized. Kris Ehresmann of the Minnesota Department of Health said the patient has "no glaringly apparent underlying health conditions that we're aware of right now."
The first two cases involved persons in Ramsey and Carver counties, with both being quarantined in their homes.
It is unclear how many people the infected person in Anoka County may have come into contact with while carrying the virus, but Ehresmann says the number of people possibly exposed to the patient could be limited.
"This is a situation in which there will be some exposures, but this is another situation in which the individual and family took great care to isolate, and that makes all the difference in the world for our work and the community," Ehresmann said.
"At this point we think the exposure did not happen in Minnesota," Ehresmann added.
Funding approved for coronavirus response
Earlier Tuesday, Gov. Tim Walz signed a bill that will pump approximately $21 million from the state to help the public health response to the coronavirus outbreak. That brings the total dollars available to combat COVID-19 to around $25 million, going towards disease investigation, monitoring the outbreak, public information, statewide response plans, and additional laboratory analysis.
“While we know that there are only two confirmed, travel-related cases of the coronavirus in Minnesota, we need to be prepared for a potential spread of the virus in our state,” said Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcom. “The Department of Health has estimated that the state will need at least $25 million to respond to a potential outbreak, and I am grateful to our elected leaders for making this a priority.”
Here are recommendations from the MDH to stay health during the outbreak:
- Staying home if you have cold or flu-like symptoms and avoiding close contact with people who are sick.
- Covering your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or into your sleeve, and then throwing the tissue in the trash.
- Washing your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom or before eating. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid touching your face – especially your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.