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Cavalier County has reported it’s first case of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The individual is self isolating and the North Dakota Department of Health is working to identify people who have been in close contact with the affected individual. If you are identified as a close contact, you will be contacted and given further advice about the steps to take.

According to Cavalier County Health Officer, Dr. Trey Emerson “The health and safety of our community is our highest priority as we face this crisis. We have been expecting this and are prepared. We have excellent staff and community support responding to the situation that continues to change daily.”

Cavalier County Public Health Director, Steph Welsh, urges local residents to be prepared, but not panic. “Cavalier County residents need to continue to implement common sense measures like staying home when you are sick, washing your hands, and practicing social distancing. High risk individuals need to practice more aggressive social distancing by staying at home and having lower risk individuals run errands and/or utilizing delivery services where available.”

The common sense measures which have been promoted by Cavalier County Health District, Cavalier County Memorial Hospital, and Cavalier County Emergency Management will continue to be the measures recommended to slow the spread of COVID-19, both before and after lab diagnosed cases have been identified in our county:

• Stay home if you are sick

• Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds or if you do not have access to a handwashing sink, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol

• Avoid touching your face, particularly your nose, mouth and eyes

•wear cloth face covers in public

• Practice social distancing

Individuals in high risk groups, those over 60 years and individuals with chronic health conditions (heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, immuno-compromised individuals, severe obesity) have been shown to have higher burden of disease from COVID-19. For individuals in those groups we would recommend:

• Stay home

• Get a friend or family member not in a high risk category to run errands for you. Get take out or carry out instead of eating in restaurants or senior centers. Use drive through windows if available

• Have medications and groceries delivered or mailed if possible

• Participate in activities, like religious services or meetings, electronically or by phone

• Use telephone, video platforms, and mail to conduct business

• Limit visitors and allow no visitors with any symptoms of illness including fever and cough

The North Dakota Department of Health will be conducting interviews with people that have been confirmed to have COVID-19 to determine who their close contacts are.

Being in an indoor environment (e.g., store, workplace, restaurant) with someone who has COVID-19 is not necessarily considered having close contact. A close contact is defined as a person who spends a prolonged period of time within 6 feet (2 meters) of a person that has been diagnosed with COVID-19. Close contact can occur while caring for, living with, visiting, or sharing a health care waiting area or room with someone that has been diagnosed with COVID-19. Just being in an indoor environment with someone is not necessarily a close contact.

The North Dakota Department of Health will be conducting interviews with all persons diagnosed with COVID-19 to determine who their close contacts are. People who are identified as close contacts will be notified by the North Dakota Department of Health and will receive instruction on quarantine and monitoring.

If you have not been contacted by the North Dakota Department of Health after you have been in the same location with a person diagnosed with COVID-19, you are not considered a close contact but should continue to follow social distancing guidance, good handwashing hygiene and staying home if you become sick.

Any person with a fever and/or respiratory symptoms who was not tested, should stay home until at least 3 days (72 hours) have passed since recovery (fever-free without the use of fever-reducing medications) and improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath) and at least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.

Clean all “high-touch” surfaces every day. Routinely clean high-touch surfaces in your “sick room” and bathroom. Let someone else clean and disinfect surfaces in common areas but not your bedroom and bathroom.

If a caregiver or other person needs to clean and disinfect a sick person’s bedroom or bathroom, they should do so on an as-needed basis. The caregiver/other person should wear a mask and wait as long as possible after the sick person has used the bathroom.

High-touch surfaces include phones, remote controls, counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables.

Clean and disinfect areas that may have blood, stool, or body fluids on them.

Household cleaners and disinfectants: Clean the area or item with soap and water or another detergent if it is dirty. Then, use a household disinfectant.

Be sure to follow the instructions on the label to ensure safe and effective use of the product. Many products recommend keeping the surface wet for several minutes to ensure germs are killed. Many also recommend precautions such as wearing gloves and making sure you have good ventilation during use of the product. Most EPA-registered household disinfectants should be effective.

For questions related to COVID-19, the public can call the North Dakota Department of Health hotline at 866-207-2880 from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Monday-Saturday. Individuals experiencing a fever and symptoms, such as cough or difficulty breathing should call their healthcare provider prior to going to the healthcare facility.

For more information about these recommendations for individuals in high risk groups go to https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/specific-groups/high-risk-complications.html.

For more information about COVID-19 and what you can do to protect yourself and your family go to https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html or https://www.health.nd.gov/diseases-conditions/coronavirus/symptoms-testing.

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