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Mayo Clinic: Don’t become complacent with safety

As several states in the United States are seeing spikes in new COVID-19 cases, including fears of an epicenter anchoring in Florida, Mayo Clinic officials maintained that while Minnesota is holding steady, and in some cases seeing numbers drop, it is not the time to become complacent.

Numbers of those who are hospitalized (339 as of Friday) or in ICU care (168 as of Friday) continue to remain at their lowest points in two months, indicating a continuing positive trend; however, Dr. Deepi Goyal, regional chairman of practice for southeast Minnesota and medical director for hospital incident command for southeast Minnesota for Mayo Clinic, is urging people to not give up the gains that have been made.

“Within the state, we’ve done a really good job and much credit goes to Gov. Walz and the aggressive steps we took,” Goyal said. “We’re going to see an increased number of COVID-19 cases as we test more so contact tracing is essential. Just like in many states, it’s going to be an investment, but it’s going to be better for contact tracing.”

In recent days, Mower has seen a spike itself, especially earlier in the week when there was a leap of over 70 cases in one day, according to Tuesday’s report from the Minnesota Department of Health. In the last two days there has been a drop to 11 new cases on both Thursday and Friday, leading up to this weekend’s free testing event at the Mower County Fairgrounds.

As Minnesota continues to gradually reopen, the state in general is holding steady compared to what other states are currently seeing.

“Hospitalization rates in Minnesota are relatively steady and it speaks to the fact that those being diagnosed are the younger, healthier individuals,” Goyal said. “Look at other states that have opened earlier or didn’t impose the measures Gov. Walz did and you’re seeing huge increases of rates of positive cases and hospitalization.”

With summer in full swing, Minnesota is seeing the increase in travel as people begin trying to get outside more, making it increasingly important that people continue to take safety precautions, especially when coming in contact with family and friends that people haven’t normally been in contact with. These include continued social distancing, wearing of masks (which have been proven scientifically to help stem the spread of coronavirus) along with the continued use of sanitation measures. The advantage of taking a road trip is actually safer than airplane traffic, despite airlines taking the necessary steps to continue keeping passengers safe.

“As you look at risk of exposure, taking a road trip is a lot safer because there are more factors that are under our control,” said Dr. Sumit Bhagra, medical director of Mayo Clinic Health System in Albert Lea and Austin. “That is not possible in the air travel setting.”

Bhagra said that it’s good to get out and enjoy the Minnesota summers, but that people need to take precautions when setting out.

“We all look forward to the Minnesota summers,” Bhagra said. “But there are a lot of questions on (travelers’) minds on how to do that safely. It is important for people to plan the time for family connection.”