Otter Tail County Public Health continues to navigate the road ahead and work to prevent the spread of coronavirus in communities. The cases of COVID-19 continue to increase in Minnesota and Otter Tail County. Currently, there is no vaccine or antiviral treatment for COVID-19. However, there are very effective public health tools to reduce the spread of the virus. These include hand-washing, social distancing and masking. On July 25 Minnesotans were required to start wearing face coverings in public indoor spaces and businesses unless alone.
According to the Minnesota Department of Health “research has shown that use of face coverings can greatly reduce the risk of infection when combined with other prevention efforts such as social distancing and hand hygiene.” It is important to remember that a face covering is not a substitute for social distancing. And they are especially important in situations when maintaining at least a 6-foot distance from other individuals who are not members of the same household is not possible. There are exemptions to the face covering requirement including young children, people with medical conditions or other disabilities. Children under age 2 must not wear face coverings. Alternatives to masks such as clear face shields may be considered for those with health conditions or situations where wearing a mask is problematic.
Masks or cloth face coverings provide a simple barrier to help prevent respiratory droplets from traveling into the air and onto other people when the person wearing the face covering coughs, sneezes, talks or raises their voice. Therefore, the cloth face covering should cover your nose and mouth.
To wear your face covering correctly:
• Wash your hands before putting on your face covering.
• Put it over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin.
• Try to fit it snugly against the sides of your face.
• Make sure you can breathe easily.
• Do not touch the mask while wearing it.
• Cloth face coverings can be washed by hand and left to air dry. It is also important to remove face coverings correctly and wash your hands after handling or touching a used face covering.
Public health encourages everyone to continue the following measures to protect yourself and others:
• Wash your hands often.
• Stay home if you are sick.
• Wear a mask.
• Use social distancing.
Otter Tail County Public Health will continue to update the public with weekly situational reports and informational resources found on the county website. People may also call the department with questions or if they have tested positive for COVID-19. As a reminder please do not delay medical or public health services such as checkups, immunizations or WIC opportunities.