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Public Health

Posted on: May 7, 2020

Increase in Rice County COVID-19 Cases


Increase in Rice County COVID-19 Cases 

Rice County has seen a steady rise in COVID - 19 cases with the total case count as of today at 53; and increase of 17 cases from the day prior. The age range of Rice County lab confirmed cases is 12 years through 89 years of age. 5 of the 53 cases have been hospitalized and 12 of the 53 cases no longer need to be isolated.

As testing availability has expanded more lab confirmed cases are being identified, which was expected. In addition, local businesses are screening employees for any symptoms and referring for testing in order to ensure workplace safety for employees. Rice County Public Health continues to work with MDH, health care partners and local businesses on mitigation strategies to help reduce spread.

The virus that causes COVID-19 is spread primarily by respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It can also spread when people touch surfaces that have been contaminated by an infected person and then touch their eyes, nose or mouth.

People with symptoms of CVOID-19 are asked to self-isolate for 10 days since first feeling sick, and their symptoms subside, and they have no fever for 3 days, whichever is longer. Household contacts should stay home as much as possible and monitor for symptoms. As always individuals should follow the guidance of their healthcare provider.  

There is much we do not know about this virus, however there are many things we can all do to help protect ourselves and others. Please adhere to the following recommendations:

Wear a cloth face mask when you are out in public; especially when you cannot maintain social distancing of 6 feet, such as when grocery shopping or in crowded shopping areas.  The mask will not protect you but will protect others in case you are carrying the virus unknowingly.

If you carpool to work, consider other options, or wear a cloth face mask for some protection.

Maintain distancing of 6 feet between yourself and others.   

If you have an underlying health condition or are an older adult, limit visitors to your home or ask others to help with errands so you do not need to be out in public places with large numbers of people.

Limit congregating with others and if you must gather, stay 6 feet apart!

Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your sleeve.

Wash your hands often and for 20 seconds. 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.

Clean and disinfect your home regularly, especially frequently touched surfaces such as door handles, phones, etc.

If you have symptoms of a respiratory disease (fever, coughing, muscle aches, sore throat, and headache), you should stay home for at least 10 days, and for 3 days with no fever and improvement of respiratory symptoms—whichever is longer. Separate people in the household who are ill from others.

Regularly see your healthcare provider for other health conditions you may have. Our local clinics and hospitals are here to help you manage your health. It is safe to seek healthcare!   

Rice County Public Health has a helpline number for COVID-19 related questions and to help connect residents to local resources during the pandemic. The Rice County COVID-19 helpline number is 507.384.6459. It is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.  Messages may be left on the helpline, and calls will be returned the following business day.   

Local community resource information is available on the Rice County website at:

Rice County COVID-19 data is updated regularly on the Rice County COVID-19 web page:    

Rice County continues to collect donations of personal protective equipment and homemade face masks which are then distributed throughout Rice County.  Please help if you can! More information can be found at:

Together we can help reduce the spread of COVID-19!  


Deb Purfeerst, Rice County Public Health Director (507) 332-5914

Sara Folsted, Rice County Administrator (507) 332-6100

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