With COVID-19 rapidly spreading in area communities, Otter Tail County Public Health would like to remind you that they are here for you and together we can get through the pandemic. One way to continue to do your part is to stay informed as to what actions you need to take if you were in close contact with someone with COVID-19 or are awaiting test results. Please follow these public health guidelines. An isolation and quarantine calculator can be found at ottertailcountymn.us/covid19-calculator/.


Close contact

A close contact is someone that has been within 6 feet of a person with COVID-19, for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more per day, during their infectious period. The infectious period is two days before a person’s symptoms started or two days before their test date if they did not have symptoms. If you are a close contact, you will need to quarantine for 14 days after your last day of contact.



Quarantine is used to keep someone who has been identified as a close contact of a person with COVID-19 away from others to help stop the spread. A close contact will need to stay home and away from others from the time they last had contact with the positive person regardless of a negative test. You cannot test out of quarantine.



Isolating keeps someone who is infected with the virus away from others, including those in their home. People in isolation should stay home until it is safe for them to be around others. You need to isolate until all the following are true:

• You feel better. Your symptoms of COVID-19 are improving and;

• It has been at least 10 days since you first felt sick; and;

• You have had no fever for the last 24 hours without using medicine that lowers fever.

When you are self-isolating from others make sure to contact your health care provider if you experience worsening or severe symptoms.



Individuals tested for COVID-19 should self-isolate by staying home and away from others (including those in your household as much as possible) while waiting for test results. Your household and close contacts should also limit their activities in public until the test results are available.


Negative test results

This means you do not currently have COVID-19. However, you could still be exposed or become sick at any time. You should continue to take steps to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. If you develop symptoms of COVID-19, talk to your doctor or other health care provider about getting tested again. If you tested because you were deemed a close contact of a positive case, continue with the recommended 14-day quarantine period, even if your test results are negative. 


Positive test results

If your test results are positive isolate and separate yourself from others who are not sick to avoid spreading the virus. Notify anyone that would be considered a close contact during your infectious period and remain home in isolation as described above. MDH or local public health may not be able to reach you so please follow these guidelines. Use the calculator to determine when it is safe to return to work or school.


Otter Tail County Public Health asks that you continue to practice social distancing, avoid gatherings, wear a face covering, wash your hands and be alert for symptoms. Thank you for keeping our families, friend, and neighbors healthy and safe.

If you have questions, call Public Health 218-998-8320, visit their website at ottertailcountymn.us or find them on social media. Many resources may be found on the MDH and CDC websites.

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