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Albert Lea school employee tests positive for COVID-19

The school district is conducting a deep cleaning of their work area.

An employee of Albert Lea Area Schools has tested positive for the coronavirus, the school district announced on Friday.

In a statement on its website, the school district said it's likely that the employee contracted the virus while traveling over spring break.

"Upon the onset of flu-like symptoms, the individual was advised by a medical provider not to return to work," it said.

The school district has said that the employee "has not set foot in the school where they work since spring break began on March 7."

"The district is doing a deep clean of the individual's work area," it added. "The Minnesota Department of Health has been notified and is aware of the situation."

There have been 115 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Minnesota so far, though health officials acknowledge that there are higher numbers in the community that can't be confirmed due to a lack of testing capacity.

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There have been no confirmed cases in Freeborn County yet, though there has been one confirmed case in neighboring Mower County.

An article by the Minnesota Reformer on Thursday looked at the potential impact that COVID-19 could have on rural counties that don't have the same health resources as more urban parts of Minnesota, with hospital bed availability the main concern.

The Reformer notes that Freeborn County currently has 69 hospital beds for 30,495 residents, an average of 2.26 beds per 1,000 residents. Neighboring Mower County though has zero beds for its 40,000-plus residents.

Read more here.

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